the emptiness never seems to leave/ i wish i could love myself fully
Hi everyone so I just wanted to get some feelings off my chest.
So I am in high school right now and lead a pretty average life. I have a good portion of friends that I enjoy spending time with and am a good student and yet, I get this weird kinda emptiness that just surrounds my life. The intensity changes with how my day is going but sometimes I wonder if it's actually always there but it is only when I am distracted that I don't notice. It's like everything just feels so meh. I feel unfilled in my life, and super lonely sometimes despite having friends. Apart of me feels like I don't completely belong/ fit-in and I keep thinking people don't actually like me even though I know its probably just my overthinking and insecure mind. Sometimes it all just feels like such an appearance where everyone just pretends to be perfectly content with their lives. Like I'm just doing things because I have to and I know that if I want to be a happier person I need to start actively looking for happiness / find it in myself but I never seem to able to because honestly, I don't know-how and often stop myself from doing things I want to because I care too much about what other people think of me. It just sucks having 1 good day in two/ three weeks because even if its a really great day, the time in between can sometimes be so mind-numbingly empty. To be honest, although I love the girls in my friend group, I don't feel that strong sense of closeness I desire. I have it with one other person outside my group but I am constantly double-guessing if she feels the same (my fault not hers).
Sometimes I just wonder how many things in my life I have convinced myself I'm content with. I know there are better ways to lead my life than this, especially because I feel a lot of my issues come from myself because of my insecurities, the fact I don't really know myself and because I struggle with putting my happiness first ( I am quite a nurturing person, the care-taker and the emotional support so I not used to that role). I just spend so much of time overthinking this stuff, my actions and life in general.
Lowkey this is just word vomit but I wonder if anyone has any suggestions about anything I mentioned. I want to stop feeling so empty all the time and just be able to be happier. I wish I could just learn to love and trust myself.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all stay safe during covid!!
Welcome to the BeyondBlue forums, it is nice to meet you here. I am sorry to hear you have been feeling really empty, and like your life isn't quite what you want it to be. I understand that can be really tough to deal with, and it is easy to get into a repetitive cycle of overthinking and double-guessing everything. Also, as you rightly note, a lot of life's hardest challenges and being 'content' for less than what we hope or want, are things that can be improved if only we can find out how. And, as you note, it is up to ourselves to do it.
But perhaps the other perspective we could think about is whether you are doing anything wrong at all, or if it's all part of an overall process of learning to trust yourself. If you think about befriending others, there's usually a period of testing the waters and questioning whether there's a legitimate friendship there. I wonder if that trial and error also applies to learning how to put our own happiness first, and how to live a fulfilling life. It's just a thought, and perhaps one that can help ease your worry that there may be better ways to lead your life.
If I think about my own life, I could certainly point at a bunch of things I could do differently and which perhaps would indicate that I was living my life better - I could try and meet some new friends, mend some family relationships, find a better job. But at the same time, if it was as easy as just doing all of the above, I would've done it straight away. Having thought about it for some time now, I know that there are barriers to me just doing these things, and I am learning to be more patient with myself.
I don't know if these are things you've thought about already, but I hope it can give you a sense that you're not the only one who thinks they haven't really worked out their own life yet. You mention you're in high school - I'm 28, and I still haven't worked out how to live my life to the fullest. There may be small things you can do here and there, but otherwise I think you're absolutely on the right path by thinking about what you want more generally. After all, you'll never get to slowly change your life if you've never thought about it either.
I feel for you so very much as you enter into this deeply challenging transitional time in your life.
At different points in life, people can find themselves in wonder filled states. They become full of wonder or 'wonderful'. These might sound familiar
- I wonder why I'm not all that happy
- I wonder what's wrong with me
- I wonder what I need to do to make or feel a difference in my life
It can develop into a long list, that's for sure.
From personal experience, it took me a significant number of years before I came to address that 2nd point constructively, 'What's wrong with me?' I came to realise one of my greatest faults involved me not wondering in the 'right' ways, the ways that make the difference we can be looking for. A couple of examples:
- When self esteem is low, some of time it's typically because we're taught to doubt our self more than we're taught to question others. I discovered if I came to wonder out loud, this gradually boosted my self-esteem. If someone was insensitive and arrogant towards me, in the past I might have thought 'I want to say something but I don't have the confidence'. Now, I openly wonder. At first I may simply wonder 'Why is this person so insensitive and arrogant?' Then the wonder can become so strong, I just have to know, so I'll ask them. BAMM! Openly wondering out loud, at a person definitely challenges them. I do have a filter. I pick my moments. If I want to keep my job, I wouldn't wonder in such a way toward my boss 🙂 It's easiest to begin practicing this on someone we know well and are comfortable with. Don't be surprised if you become labelled as 'challenging' because that's exactly what you're dong, challenging that person to give you an answer
- Wondering about the influences around us can also be constructive. 'I wonder, is this person/situation/challenge bringing me down or raising me?' is practicing higher consciousness
Unless we're experiencing a significant chemical imbalance, for example, or facing something traumatic, typically 'basically' may just not cut it anymore. 'Life is basically good, my friends are basically nice, I'm basically satisfied with life' is not as soulful as 'Life is fantastic, my friends are brilliant/highly inspirational, I'm deeply satisfied with life'. Sometimes we're left hungering for more, 'soul food' that leads our natural self to thrive.
With you being such a wonderful person, do you do much wondering about the things that would truly excite you in life?
Thank you very much for your reply. I had never thought about it that way, probably because I demand consistent perfection from myself. Another facet of learning to love myself is learning to not be so harsh when I don't know exactly what I doing/ where I'm going. I knew that fact but had never properly applied it to my situation, it helped me see that it's okay if I feel unfulfilled or struggle to put my happiness first. I had always seen these things as my personal weaknesses and failures, but your right, its all part of a process!
I also just want to note that I was smiling as I read your reply, one of those dopey kind of surprised at peoples genuine kindness smiles. I am so used to being the emotional support of the people in my life and I have never had someone properly assess my feelings and try to help me out (even if it is there sorta of job) You said you still didn't know how to live your life to the fullest, and that's completely okay but I hope you see the work you do on these platforms as something fulfilling because it really does mean a lot to the people you reach out to.
Do you have any suggestions on how to cope when feeling really empty/ unfulfilled/ lonely? I have done some research and I think I might be a HSP (highly sensitive person) it is not a disorder or anything, more just a trait. Anyway, the point is it means you feel things very deeply and intensely, which isn't great when those feelings are negative. I wonder if there is a better way with coping than just waiting for it to pass and then struggling with knowing that it will come again and remembering how much it sucked.
thank you for your reply. It means a lot for people to reach out (even though that is your aim ) and your dot points were very informative. Wondering out loud seems terrifying, but I will try to give it a shot, I definitely think in order to be more confident I need to start challenging the world around me. In regards to your last question, I have given it some thought but as I am quite young I could not give a certain answer. People excite me the most in life (almost as much as they probably make me anxious lol) and I think for me I definitely would need more meaningful relationships. Thing is that highschool creates a sort of barrier for that with most people figuring out themselves and a lot acting just with the status quo/ surface level. I have 1 truly meaningful relationship outside of the home but I feel like more of them would have to just form naturally. That is unfortunate but idk if its something I could change.
I also think a fulfilling career path would excite me. I am not sure here what exactly that is but perhaps something to do with psychology or philosophy?
Apart from that I also do acting classes at my school and it is one of the things I am semi-confident that brings me some genuine joy, I get a thrill from performing at showcases.
I don't really know what else to say, guess I need to do some more wondering. There is probably something I didn't mention.
I hope this answers your question of which I wasn't actually sure if I was meant to reply to or if it was like a prompt?! anyway here is a response. I guess with the things I feel like would make me feel different are things I feel like have barriers.
I guess I have felt that several times over the years of high school and now in university. I do have really trustworthy friends and a very priviledged life - my family has done so much for me to be where I am. But on most afternoons I am just thinking about how happy I want to feel but am not really feeling right now.
The first thing that I do is usually write it out. Like literally like as if I was talking to myself in the mirror and venting all problems. It just clears your head to think more, and so for me it increases the chances of me figuring out what exactly it is that I am craving.
Next, I usually decide on one thing - for example maybe weight control, and decide a mini version of the goal that would make me happy the same day. So that would be just eat salad at night, or just go for a stroll at night. And accomplish that the same day. So then I have done something that I want, that I decided, and that I successfully did. So it makes me happy. Happy enough to keep this going until I reach a more comfortable place than before.
I identify as someone super lonely and empty sometimes too, so can't guarantee that this will get me where I want to be, but as of now, this is what makes me feel better and I hope it works for you too, if you want to try this 🙂
I get where you're coming from with people figuring themselves out throughout school. My daughter's 18 (this Wednesday) and my son's 15. While my daughter has taken years to finally find the most natural amazing friends anyone could ever find, my son still faces the challenges of sifting through to find those natural, sensitive, thoughtful, inspiring, non degrading 'friends'. My son is truly stunning in the way he's searched for friends. From prep onward, he would never settle for anyone less than a true friend. Having opportunities to easily make friends with many people, he'd often choose to sit on his own than sacrifice his nature, to fit in. Of course, there were times when this deeply challenged him, yet he's never changed over the years. He's never acted like anyone other than himself, which brings me to something you raised in your last post, your love of acting.
Personally, I've never been brave enough to put myself out there in the way of acting or public speaking. This is something I leave up to the stars, those who shine in such a unique and courageous way. When it comes to acting, I never realised until not too long ago how much we can act so unlike our natural self, in life. Our lives can be jam packed with directors, giving us directions on how to act. We can begin life as natural wonder filled little people, always asking 'Why?' to things until we're directed to 'Stop asking so many questions and just do as you're told!' So, we begin acting like people who don't question. We can begin life as 'challenging', often challenging those around us to rise to higher consciousness, to be reasonable, caring and sensitive in a number of ways (especially with their words) until we're directed to 'toughen up' and accept the unreasonable, careless and insensitive nature of others. To remain sensitive, a seeker of reason and careful is truly powerful.
I imagine philosophy interests you because you're naturally wonderful in search of meaning, you're reasonable in search of reason and sensitive to seeking what makes sense. The psychology aspect, I imagine you are someone who longs to make a positive difference to people, a guiding light in people's transformation. Perhaps that wonderful part of you also wishes to make sense of what and/or who leads (directs) people to act the way they do.
I believe, you're already a philosopher and, in seeking the light in yourself, you are well on your way to becoming a light for others.
Thanks for responding earlier, and thank you for letting me know that you appreciated my reply too. It is kind of you to think of me as well.
In terms of your question about how to cope when you're feeling empty, lonely or unfulfilled, I think that's a really important question to ask and hopefully find a response to. As you say, simply having to wait it out and deal with the worry of it coming back again is really tough and it's good to think about what alternatives there are. I am also quite a sensitive person, particularly to opinions about me (whether others' opinions, or my own). So I've been quite prone in the past to letting some of these spiral out of control a bit, particularly if I am feeling particularly lonely or empty. So it's really important for me to avoid those feelings.
The things that help me are making sure I've got regular contact with someone. I used to have a partner, but I'm single now again, so now I'm relying on a few close friends. But often it's hard to connect with them because of life busyness so I also try to do other things that help me feel close to people, and with purpose, without necessarily meeting with people in person.
As an example, I like to read, and my ex (who I'm still close with) and I used to read books together. What I do now is I record myself reading these and share them so she can listen to it in her own time. We're not spending time together, but in a way I'm still able to nurture that friendship in my own way. I know other people watch TV shows that friends are watching, sometimes together, and can message each other.
I am not sure what activities would suit you, but from my own experience, the best ones are the things you would enjoy doing on your own anyway, and which hopefully also help you feel closer to other people, whether strangers or friends.
Have you got any thoughts about that?
I am 14, and I feel what you feel every day. Like you may be doing something fun, but the moment it ends the emptiness and hole in your chest overwhelms you, and everything is numb. I have it right now infact, and it hasn't gone away in 3 years other than when I am distracted.
But I want to tell you what I tell myself; It's ok to feel numb. It doesn't feel bad, but it's ok, because life can suck sometimes, and so I just want you to know that even though I don't know who you are, I am there with you, and I will support you in spirit.
I hope life works out and that you will be ok. Don't do anything you will regret, because believe me you will regret it, but try to push past and find help that you trust. Distract yourself and find a cause so as to avoid that cause and avoid the feeling.
Everything is ok. The world is good. You are good. Life is good. Be strong and have courage, and at all times be kind to others, because they can help you in ways no one else can.