Filling a void
Some of us have this empty feeling that just won’t go away. Life is good, great and at times, ok but yet that underlying feeling is still there. You can’t really identify what it is or how to fix it. We try to find a way to fill that emptiness, that void by drinking, drugs, sex, relationships, work, eating… etc. In the end, the things we try to fill that void with still leaves us empty and even more unhappy. Sometimes you may not even realize you have a void or where it stems from. We go through life so fast, just doing and not thinking. You let your emotions take over instead of trying to find out why you feel the way you do. Some people’s void stems from relationship issues with parents as a child, family life, environment. Some people’s void are from things that happened in their life as an adult. Whatever your void is, you can’t run away from it forever. It will eventually catch up with you and knock you down. At that point, you’ll have no choice but to face the very thing you’ve been running away from.
I didn’t want to post this blog without finding ways to help fill the void so I found these blogs by Dr. Tony Ferretti.
Do you have an emotional void? How do you fill that void? Many of us have a void in life that we attempt to fill with either positive or negative people or activities. In my practice, I work with highly successful, driven people who channel their energy into their careers. On the outside these individuals appear to be have it all, beautiful house, fancy car, name brand clothes, but on the inside is a gaping hole that they are attempting to fill. Some people grew up in homes where love was conditional based on performance, achievement, and productivity. Others grew up in abusive homes and never received approval or acceptance from their parents. Some had very little guidance/direction from their parents whereas others were micro managed during every step of their development. These are some ways in which an emotional void evolves and as children we find whatever way possible to cope. In fact, many people use the same coping mechanisms they did as children throughout their adult lives. For example, if as a child you used avoidance, withdrawal, and detachment to deal with verbal abuse you may find you’re still employing the same approach even though as an adult you have many more resources. Ask yourself, how did I cope with conflict as a child and do I use the same method today? Back to the original question, how do you fill your void? We may fill the void with food, alcohol, drugs, material possessions, sex, pornography, video games, etc. Sometimes the obsessions are more subtle or appear positive like work, wealth, physical attractiveness, exercise, popularity, status, power, and control. Over the next couple of weeks I will discuss the impact of these unhealthy emotional fillers and share positive alternatives. For now, identify your void and emotional filler.
Last week I discussed ways people fill their emotional void and where the void originated. Today I’d like to discuss why many people never realize a void exists until they self-destruct. You’ve heard the expression “work hard, play hard,” this describes many in my patient population. Driven, intense, and competitive people don’t transition well from work to home and carry the same behaviors and mindset to their personal lives. They are used to being busy, stimulated, challenged, and productive. Being still is a waste of time in their minds and they get restless when idle. These individuals operate from two speeds, 5th gear and neutral, and tend to be all or nothing types. They may use caffeine to pump them up and alcohol/drugs to bring them down. They don’t have the time, desire, or inclination to focus on their void and keep themselves distracted and detached from emotional issues. We read about people self-destructing everyday with the latest being the Secret Service scandal. Bright, educated, successful people using poor judgment and making bad choices. Are they filling a void too? All too often achievement or power-oriented people struggle in intimate relationships due to their emotional immaturity and self-absorption. Many don’t realize the void until it’s too late. Last week I challenged you to find your void, this week I challenge you to share it. Next week I’ll discuss practical ways to achieve balance in life since fillers are typically a result of imbalance.
Now that you recognize your void and hopefully shared it, the next step is finding healthy ways to fill it. Most people have a void and insecurity in some area of their lives, so be assured you are not alone. When filling your void, be sure to keep balance in mind since even positive activities can become unhealthy and addictive. One of my favorite fillers is exercise, it doesn’t matter what type of exercise, just get active. Fill the void with a hobby, home project, volunteering, or any healthy passion that you have which gives you joy. I find that giving back to the community and serving others in need can be a wonderful void filler. For me, having a relationship with God and incorporating prayer in my life will consistently fill a void. Spending quality time with family and friends creates an emotional connection and fills a void. Nurturing a marriage fosters emotional intimacy and builds a sense of belonging. Having a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and meaning in life related to work, raising a family, caring for others, or supporting a partner to excel in their career can fill a void. Ultimately, taking care of our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and relational needs in a balanced and healthy way will produce positive benefits. And remember, balance breeds success. Life is extremely busy and very stressful, but attending to our needs will enable us to care for those we love with greater patience, strength, and energy. Next week I will discuss my book that is now on Amazon, Change Your Life, Not Your Wife: Marriage Saving Advice For Success-Driven People, written with Dr. Peter Weiss, which addresses the destructive nature of filling the void with work, wealth, power, and achievement.
I’m glad I came accross this blog very informative. As for me, I fill my void the same way ”having a relationship with God and incorporating prayer in my life…. or at least I try too :-).