I was talking to a friend who recently broke up with her partner about how now is a good time for her to ‘find herself’ (cliche!) and reconnect with who she is, what she likes doing in order to build that relationship up with herself, as we can lose this in a relationship. Although this can be a daunting process (as most of us are afraid to really meet ourselves) it is where healing takes place.
My friend has already signed up to dating websites. On one hand I think that’s great, she is ‘moving on’ and being proactive – and it is good to socialise with people to lift your spirits, however is she really moving on, or just trying to quickly fill the void her ex has left her with? A quick fix solution, will only fill the cracks, but the cracks will still be there. We discussed this void within her – she acknowledged she was trying to fill the gap as did not want to be left with her own thoughts. Starting a new relationship from this state of mind can be unhealthy.
The universe never ceases to amaze me when it throws in synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) as later that day we got talking to someone randomly about meditation who shared that he’d always kept himself busy and doing ‘nothing’ use to make him feel really uncomfortable so he’d do ‘stuff’ all the time to fill the void.
I feel my friend needed to hear this, as it normalised her feelings but it also gave her hope (a bit anyway…that is a start!). He said once he learnt to get past the initial ‘pain barrier’ of facing the void inside him, he started to feel much more comfortable being in his own company and things really shifted for him. Obviously this does not happen over night. Everyone at their own pace.
For us to be truly happy we need to address our voids; emptiness and loneliness. People tend to avoid such feelings as they can be painful and bring anxiety to the surface, they therefore keep the void ‘stuffed’ up by perhaps spending money; retail therapy, eating too much, smoking, drinking, working too much, keeping busy, jumping from one relationship to another etc.
Most of the time this is unconscious, we don’t even realise we are doing it. In my earlier twenties I still remember my counselling tutor saying, ‘I wonder if you’re keeping yourself busy to fill the emptiness inside you’. He was right, but I didn’t realise consciously at the time that I was feeling empty! I learnt that keeping busy had become a defence mechanism I developed from an early age which actually can be an unconscious form of ‘avoiding’.
Becoming more self aware is bringing the unknown into the known – brining what is unconscious to you into your conscious mind. It is only then you can enable change, because if you don’t know what is underlying, how will you know you need to work on it? Counselling courses take you on a journey of self discovery and exploring your inner world – but I will save that for another blog!
If you resonate with filling a potential void inside you, then I’d encourage you to reflect on some of the following.
What are you hiding from? What do you think you might realise if you allowed yourself space? What is the worst thing that might happen? How would you survive the worst case scenario? Because you WILL survive! A lot of people are afraid that if they allowed themselves to feel the pain, the sadness, the guilt, or whatever the feelings might be, that they won’t come through the other end. Not ‘giving in’ to these feelings suggests an internal battle, but YOU are the one fighting it! Perhaps you feel you need to ‘be strong’, but it takes more strength to face your feelings right? This can also be linked to ego, which again is another topic for another blog!
Try giving yourself time, to be with just ‘you’ for only 5 minutes a day to start of with, you can do longer if you’d like. No phone, no people… just you -simply notice how this makes you feel, both physically and emotionally. Do you have aches and pains in your body you did not notice before? What are you feeling? Strange, for doing this!?! Agitated, relaxed, sad? Do you feel like running away from yourself, or do you feel peace? Make a note of these each time. By doing so you are acknowledging the feelings that are trying to get your attention! Acknowledging is the first step, and sometimes that is all that is needed. Just acknowledging thougths, feelings and pain can actually help them to reduce. Remember your feelings are not bigger than you. They will pass and won’t last forever.No-one can fill your void – only you can!
‘What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be’ Quote by Ellen Burstyn
Thanks for reading, have a great day!