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Can’t Shake the Feeling Something is Missing?

2013 July 18

The worst feeling is pretending you don’t care about something, when it’s all you seem to think about. ~Author Unknown

Something missing?Do you ever find that you just can’t manage to let go of this feeling that something is missing in your life? It’s kind of like an itch you can’t scratch, or that uneasy feeling you get when you think you may have forgotten something; but rather than attempt to figure it out you’ve likely either tried to dismiss it entirely or just kept pushing it to the back of your mind.

After all, you have your health and are living a good life, and even if it’s not all that you once dreamed it would be, it really is okay, and a lot of other people have it tougher, right? In fact, the very notion that you might want more makes you feel somehow ungrateful or selfish.

Why you shouldn’t ignore that itch.

The first thing you need to understand is that you are not the only one that has these feelings, and the second thing is that taking the time to explore this empty place you have is not a betrayal to your values or those you love, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

While it may seem like the best thing to do is to just keep ignoring the feeling and telling yourself how lucky you are, what you need to know is no matter how small that needful little itch is now, this feeling rarely goes away on its own. In fact it has an annoying habit of surfacing in completely unrelated (and not always healthy) ways such as depression, overeating or substance abuse for example. Have you ever lost your temper with someone for some small thing that you would normally never give a second thought to? These are just a few examples how our inner “self” has a way of demanding attention.

How to Determine What’s “Missing” in Your Life

Take some time to identify your triggers.

No matter how subtle this feeling may be there will still be trigger points that are unique to you and your feelings of discontent, and in order to scratch that itch you will have to identify those triggers.

If you’ve never kept a journal, this is the perfect opportunity to start because keeping track of the behaviors, actions or situations that appear to spike your feelings of discontent will be the key to identifying the issue that is hungering for attention.

Areas you’ll want to explore are your relationships, job or career path, and where you are with your dreams and goals in life. Another area to look at is your past. Maybe you’ve been unable to let go of something or someone in your past, unconsciously keeping that door open … just in case.

Explore your triggers to discover the real issues.

Once you’ve identified a few triggers, it’s time to dig a little deeper to discover exactly what it is about this issue or particular situation that sets off that feeling of discontent.

Let’s say for example that you discover the subject of education is a trigger for you. Maybe you dropped out of college thinking that you could always go back and get your degree later on, but you never did, and now because of family and responsibilities it bothers you that this option is no longer available to you.

Or maybe your trigger is the relationship with your former spouse. If you are harboring hope of reconciliation; any attempt on their part to move forward with a life separate from you will most certainly trigger feelings of anxiety.

Identifying the source of your discontent is the first step to begin to explore exactly what it might take to make you feel better about this area of your life.

We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present. ~Thomas Edison

Don’t settle for the easy answers.

Before you begin looking for solutions, you need to make sure you’ve tagged the real problem because it can be awfully tempting to avoid uncomfortable emotions.

Let’s go back to the example of education. Before giving any thought to options available to you to get your degree … you have to be completely honest with yourself about whether your heartfelt desire is that degree, or whether the degree has come to represent something else entirely.

The best way to explore your feelings is by asking questions such as …

  • How do I really feel about going back into a classroom?
  • What am I willing to give up to make getting my degree a reality?
  • Does it make me feel excited or does the thought of the actual work that will be required to get my degree fill me with dread?

The story you have been telling yourself all this time may have been that life would be so much better if only you had that degree, but what if the real issue isn’t the degree at all? What if you’ve been using the lack of that degree as an excuse to avoid going for a more challenging job or career? Maybe you already have the experience and skills you need, but lack the confidence.

Start small, but start.

Whatever the issue, once you identify the source of that annoying itch, make a decision to do something right now to create meaningful change. Going back to the education example, if you’ve decided you definitely want to complete your degree, then you can begin by talking with your family to gain their support. Depending on your field of study and where you live, you can look into online courses and opportunities for scholarships and funding for adult education.

Whatever you do don’t overwhelm yourself, and don’t feel any pressure to change your life all today. Just do one thing that will make you feel happy and will help move you one step in a better direction.

The most important thing is to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with these feelings and they rarely signal that your life is completely off track; more often than not it’s simply a matter of coming to terms with internal limiting beliefs you’ve been harboring, or making minor adjustments in relationships.

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8 Responses
  1. July 24, 2013

    Marty, I have fallen in love with the way you come up with this post. The quote at the beginning of this post, speaks volumes about the post. I simply can’t shake that feeling of missing something, but sometimes pretending that one does not care at all is the way to live up the life and go with the flow. Thanks for the share.

  2. July 24, 2013

    I couldn’t help but agree with every single word of this post and it sent such positive vibes and positive energy down the reader’s soul. We remain busy in the routine of our lives that we actually get immune to the ‘missing feeling’ and even if we do feel it we are unable to spot what is actually missing. Thanks for the lovely share Marty.

  3. July 22, 2013

    Hi Marty,

    Great post–this is such an important point! I particularly resonated with what you said about pursuing a degree and how that desire could be a *symptom* of a deeper issue rather than the issue itself. That gives me a lot to think about! :)


  4. July 20, 2013

    Changing your story is a great way of moving forward. The old/same stories hold us back and often we allow them to keep us in the same spot. I agree with you that using a journal is a brilliant way to break the itch, create a new story and move forward
    Great post Marty
    Suzie Cheel recently posted..Be Releasing of What Holds You BackMy Profile

  5. July 19, 2013

    Marty – great post! One thing I’ve always experienced when I get that itch is that it won’t go away until you get in touch with it. Even if it just becomes a faint whisper it will keep calling you until you respond. I love that about my soul callings!

    I love your point about getting started…taking action even if its small is movement in the right direction. It’s easy to think about it – but its important to act on it. Always a great reminder!! Thank you.
    Karen Jolly recently posted..When is Busy Just Too Busy?My Profile

  6. July 19, 2013

    Hi Marty,

    This was an excellent post. One point in particular really stood out for me, which is what you wrote about already having the experience and skills, but lacking in confidence.

    Confidence is so important to build in order to help us achieve what we really want to. Even if we don’t have the right qualifications etc, having confidence will support us in finding way to to develop the skills, contacts etc to get done what we want to and bounce back when we make mistakes.

    Thank you.
    Hiten recently posted..7 Ways to Live MindfullyMy Profile

  7. July 19, 2013

    Marty – What a great post. I especially like the section on “start small – but start”. It’s such an inviting way to look at undertaking a new project. Susan
    Susan Wright-Boucher recently posted..The Real Reasons You Should Stop Using PaperMy Profile

  8. July 19, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more with the idea of keeping a journal to uncover that hidden itch. It’s amazing how your heart knows exactly what it wants, but the brain too often takes control. When we permit our thoughts to flow undisturbed from our true self through the pen and on to paper, we receive a transcript from our soul that serves to provide a new and meaningful perspective on our wants, needs, fears, and triggers.

    “What I am doing today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” ~Unknown

    I can think of nothing more valuable than taking the time to make yourself full. It will not only affect you, but every person in the world that your life touches. Thank you for the wonderful reminder ;-)
    Dave recently posted..Experience lifeMy Profile

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