There are holes inside each of us that long to be filled—for by filling them, we don’t have to feel the emptiness that resides there.
That hole can be one that needs approval, one that needs security or one that longs for validation that proves we are enough.
We search for ways to “fill the void”—that aching, empty, bottomless pit inside your soul, that feeling of needing something that if you don’t find and keep leaves you incomplete.
Most of us tend to fill that void with things that aren’t healthy for us. We latch onto destructive people, get involved in the wrong kind of relationships, take drugs, have casual sex, overeat, drink or spend money believing that if we find the right stuff to fill ourselves with that empty feeling will go away.
But it doesn’t.
Most of the time, we try to fill it with love from another person. Because we don’t love ourselves.
I watch so many people I care about attempting to fill that hole with relationships they know aren’t right for them. They go from one relationship to the next, with no time in between to be alone with themselves, in effort to keep the emptiness inside of them filled so they don’t have to deal with the unresolved issues or lack of self-love inside of themselves.
This is why so many men and women go from marriages into affairs, then right into a relationship with the affair person. Their spouse can’t fill the hole, so they look to someone else to fill it. That person fills it for awhile and makes them believe it’s not them; it was the person they were with. Until that relationship starts to show its own wear and tear—and ultimately falls apart.
And once again, they are left alone with themselves.
And the hole.
Here’s the thing: Nobody, absolutely nobody, can fill that void inside of you but you.
So, how do you get rid of the feeling or perception of that void? Well, this is what I did:
When my marriage ended, I felt completely lost. My life as I knew it, and as I envisioned it was supposed to be, was gone.
It was shocking. It was excruciatingly painful. And it left me a hole in my heart that was so big I thought it would never meld back together.
But for the first time in my life, instead of denying the pain or trying to stuff it down and “be strong”, I walked straight into it. I didn’t run out and try to find someone else, I didn’t shove food in my face or drink myself into an oblivion. I let the pain in.
I told myself, “This too shall pass. If I can get through this without glomming onto someone else to fill the loneliness and emptiness inside of me or use some other man to validate my sexiness and desirability, I will learn to truly love myself for who I am.”
It was lonely at times. Some days unbearable. And although dating and having men validate that I am still an incredible, funny, beautiful woman despite what my heart wanted to believe has been fun and at times a wonderful escape, I became unwilling to settle for anything less than what I deserve.
I wanted to feel whole and complete and perfect just being with me. And the only way to get there was alone.
In the aloneness, I have found that I can fill my own hole. With positive affirmations, self-love and the willingness to sit with the discomfort and loneliness when it hits.
When I need someone to hold me, I reach out to my children. When my children aren’t there, I reach out to a friend.
And when no one is there, I embrace myself.
I realize there is no longer a hole inside of me. And I am perfectly okay being alone. But if somebody were to come along, who I recognized as being whole and complete within himself, my heart is open.
Because a healthy relationship is one where you aren’t looking to another person to “complete you” or bring something into your life that isn’t already there.
You will find that the moment you accept that everything you truly desire is already inside of you, your own love is enough. There is nothing more perfect or more validating.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Image: Flickr/Sheila Sund
Read 2 comments and reply