Can’t Shake the Feeling Something is Missing?
The worst feeling is pretending you don’t care about something, when it’s all you seem to think about. ~Author Unknown
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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