Does life seem like a repetitive blur to you? Do you feel lost and without purpose? Are you constantly working towards a happiness that seems to move further and further away? If your answer was yes to any or all of those questions, then you probably feel empty inside.
Personally, I am no stranger to those feelings; they can be quite scary and demotivating.
Like why even keep pushing forward?
About two years back, I made it my mission to find out why I felt empty. I logically concluded that If I could find out why I was feeling this way, then I could also find out how to fix it. My logic wasn’t that far off…
Today I want to share with you what I found to be the reason why we all feel empty inside sometimes; or all the time! And I want to share with you what I did to fix it. To the point that today I feel at peace with myself and happy.
I want to let you know that I won’t be bringing God into this article because we all have our own believes on that subject. What I will use though is logic, science, and philosophy to try to get you to understand my realization.
- Our Never-Ending Search For Value
- Why Do We Feel Value-less?
- How To Manage When You Feel Empty
- 4) Look for spirituality
Our Never-Ending Search For Value
We, humans, love to feel unique and valuable; there’s no denying that.
It’s the reason why we always want to win, the reason why we buy luxury items, and the reason why we absolutely love getting likes on social media. All of those get you attention and recognition from your peers, therefore making you feel valuable.
The need to feel valuable is so strong within us that a study done at Portsmouth university showed that at the age of four months we already show the emotion of jealousy!
In the study when the mother of a baby showed love to another baby, then more than 50% of the ignored babies began to cry. This shows us that we do not want the attention/love to be taken away from us!
I feel empty because I don’t feel valuable
Have you ever been through a bad break-up? What’s the most common feeling you get when it happens? That’s right, you feel empty!
This empty feeling occurs because you just lost someone who valued you. Someone, who loved you and thought you were terrific. Now that they are gone, you’re left terrified that they are going to love/value someone else or even worse! Not knowing if someone else is ever going to love/value you again!
So you see you feel empty because you don’t feel valuable! And if you’re still not convinced, just take a look around you.
Men and women are constantly trying to fill the void of feeling empty by searching for external things that will give them value.
Things men to to gain self-value
- Brag about the beautiful women they’ve slept with
- Drive an expensive car
- Wear costly jewelry
- Wear an expensive watch
- Talk about the money he makes
- Brag about his manliness
- Compare other men’s wealth to his own
- Try to enter a high-status social circle
- Work-out (with the intention to look better)
Things women do to gain self-value
- Get plastic surgery
- Wear designer clothes, accessories
- Wear Make-up
- Overly revealing social media posts
- Wear an expensive watch
- Look to marry a high-value man that everyone wants (why they love famous men)
- Brag about the men they turn down
- Compare other women’s beauty to their own
- Work-out (with the intention of looking better)
Of course, not every specific individual takes part in these actions with the intention of gaining value, but as a generalization of the population, it is true.
Mentioned above are only a few of the things we do to feel valuable, there are so many more.
In fact, it could be argued that almost everything we do in our lives is value-seeking. The irony is that all those external things that we look for to gain value and fill the void in us is what actually make us feel more empty inside. Sad part is we don’t realize it until we get them.
Why Do We Feel Value-less?
To really understand why we feel value-less we need to dive in a little deeper, let’s start with the ego.
We, out of all the life forms in the world developed an ego, which is in simple terms; our sense of self.
The ego is what allows you to be aware that you are a separate being different from your mom, your dad, your friends, and everyone and everything else in this universe.
It is because of that awareness of separation that you feel valueless.
You are a tiny being in an infinite and eternal universe; you’re one out of billions of other beings who live on earth now and have lived before you throughout history.
You are in this reality not knowing what you are, where you came from, or what you’re supposed to do. The only thing you know is that you have a certain destination which is death, and after your death, you will be buried and forgotten. And if you happen have a shitty reality then too bad for you.
Thinking about yourself like this makes it pretty easy to feel insignificant and meaningless, doesn’t it? It’s a scary and deeply saddening feeling that we humans try to avoid at all cost by doing what?
You guessed it! Looking for ways to give ourselves value! Psychologist call this coping mechanism Terror Management Theory (TMT).
Terror Management Theory
According to TMT, the thought of our insignificance and our certain death is one that we suppress in our subconscious because it’s one too painful to think about consciously.
This is the reason why people value-seeking are not going to tell you “I’m buying this really expensive watch because I’m a worthless piece of meat that is going to die.” They don’t even realize that they are seeking value and meaning, it’s all subconscious.
Therefore, to condense it all for you;
We are all dealing with the immense pain of knowing that we are these random beings that came into existence for no apparent reason and have an expiration date. For that same reason we suppress this thought in our subconscious, and we choose to live under the illusion that we are valuable. We fuel this illusion by gaining recognition and attention from other random beings who feel the same.Danny
How To Manage When You Feel Empty
It’s common sense; if you’re feeling empty because you feel valueless subconsciously, then the way to stop feeling empty is to gain a sense of self-value.
The way to do this is not through the external things I mentioned at the beginning of this article; because if that were the case, then all the rich and famous people would be happy, which is not the case, Studies suggest.
To really feel valuable, you need to feel it at your core, with or without any of those external things and regardless of what anyone thinks of you.
The way to feel that unshakeable sense of value for yourself is through an understanding of why you have value, and you can do so through the following:
1) Realizing that everyone else is also trying to find self-value
According to TMT, if the sense of value that we all try to build throughout our lives through different externalities is an illusion, then that means, either, we are all valueless, or we are all equally valuable.
Once you make this realization, you will no longer feel less or more than others. Letting go of the ego actually gives you more power because you will no longer search for value in external things, like people, it will seem dumb.
Instead, you will search for internal value in things like love, progression, and spirituality. And it is for that reason that your sense of self-value will naturally go up.
2) Stop trying to fill your void with external things
People think that once they have that nice car, house, or the love of their lives, then they will feel complete and happy. Only to later realize that once they do acquire those things they will still feel empty inside.
In fact, these people will most likely feel even worse now because they don’t see a way out, their only solution which they thought was what they were missing didn’t work!
External things are not going to make you feel complete or happy, maybe for a little they will, but not in the long term.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim to have nice things and a fantastic partner and cool experiences; you definitely should! But don’t make that your primary purpose in life.
3) Realize your purpose in life
This tip is a little harder to grasp because to find your purpose in life you must believe that life has a purpose in the first place, which some people might argue.
Personally, I think we do have a purpose in life. In fact, I believe we have three objectives in life. First one is our survival as an individual and as a human race, second is to understand the world/reality around us, and third is love.
Look around you, you can notice that everything in nature is trying to survive. Every animal in the world is continually avoiding death, either death at the hands of predators or death by starvation.
The avoidance of death is so active in almost all animals that they have evolved some sort of ability or tool to help them stay alive. Example: spines on a porcupine, venom on a snake, camouflage on octopuses, just to name a few out of many.
We, humans, are the same, we might not have venom or spines, but we have the incredible power of rationalization to help us create and find ways to stay alive as long as possible.
Unfortunately, we do all end up with the same fate of death, but we still have the desire to live on as a human race through our offspring.
Nature has made sure we live on by giving us the urge to engage in sexual reproduction to assure the survival of the human race.
How can you fulfill your purpose of survival?
Just follow moral conduct, take care of yourself (mental and physical health), and spread the love. By doing these three, you assure that you stay healthy and that you have a tribe around you to help each other survive and thrive seamlessly.
Understand the reality around you
As I argued in my “meaning of life article“, we humans developed the capacity of reason and understanding to not only survive but to also question and try to understand our reality.
If that wasn’t the case why else would God or mother nature give us, and just us, the capacity to ask why?
Every ability a species has is there for a reason, so it makes logical sense that our ability of abstract thinking is also there for a specific reason. One can argue it’s to ensure our survival, but animals do just fine without thought, so why couldn’t we?
So, therefore, start picking up some books, not only in science but also in what is also my next tip; spirituality!
It can sound a bit cliche because we see it mentioned over and over in every movie or TV show as being our big superpower, but there is some truth to every cliche!
We already established above that this empty feeling we have comes from our feelings of insignificance and of having no meaning. Therefore, one of the ways to solve that problem is to love each other unconditionally.
Just imagine a world where everyone acknowledges each other and treats one another like a significant human being.
One where everything you have to say matters and no matter how you look on a given day, people still approach you and tell you how beautiful you are. The feeling of loneliness would vanish in everyone!
We all want to be loved, and we are also creatures that reciprocate love, so if you make it a priority to just give love, I assure you that you will receive that love back!
Only somebody has to make the first move, make that somebody you!
4) Look for spirituality
The three tips above a good, but what truly helped me find value within myself was finding my meaning in life, and I did that through spirituality.
Now I’m not saying you have to go find a religion to join; No.. what I’m saying is that you have to search and explore different reasons and explanations as to why you are here in this reality and what your purpose is.
As I explained in my “meaning of life article” we humans evolved with the capacity to ask why, and as long as that why is unanswered, then it’s impossible to feel full.
The only thing that can answer those questions is Spirituality.
Take Christianity for example:
What is the meaning of life? To love God and obey his law.
What will happen to me when I die? My spirit will return to God in heaven
Why am I valuable? Because my God loves me and there is a purpose for me.
What is the meaning of life? To reach enlightenment and attain good karma by doing good deeds.
What will happen when I die? I will reincarnate to a better life if I do good deeds.
Why am I valuable? Because I’m capable of love and compassion, and I will reincarnate to a better life.
You see by finding spiritual meaning in your life, then you are no longer lost.
That is the reason why religions will never go away, the sense of purpose and peace that you get from spirituality is something that nothing else can give you.
I understand that there are so many religions and it’s hard to figure out which is the right one. I struggled with this for a long time, but I searched and prayed until I finally got my answer. You need to do the same.
If God really is this kind being, then as long as you are searching and genuinely try to do good in the world, he will understand.
No creator ever throws away all his work over a small mistake, he always looks to fix it first because it represents him.
Some of you might be an atheist, and that’s completely fine, but I recommend that you keep an open mind.
At the end of the day, no one knows the entire truth. We have theories upon theories, but no cold hard facts for the majority of the questions about our universe.
If you’re willing to search longer and harder for truth, then I recommend to you the book: Five Proofs For The Existence Of God; by Edward Feser. It is a brilliant book with many logical reasons as to why a creator or source might exist.
You constantly feel empty inside because you believe you aren’t valuable. It could be because of your subconscious awareness of death or just simply because you had a traumatic childhood. Whichever it was, just realize that looking for external things will not fill you, only finding your internal value will. You can find your internal value through the following:
- Realize and accept that every single human alive starts out looking for self-value
- Let go of trying to fill your void with external things, meaning; money, fame, women, recognition, and acceptance.
- Realize what your purpose in life is. Keep in mind survival, understanding, and love.
- Look for meaning through spirituality; It’s a different way of looking at our reality. One that may bring you peace and deeper understanding.