I have the privilege of working with a lot of women who open their hearts and souls to me. One thing I hear many women saying is that they feel something is missing in life even though they have so much to feel grateful for.
These women often feel guilty for feeling this way because they are so full of gratitude for their lives. What could possibly be missing when I live such a fortunate life and have so many blessings?
I get it because I have been there and experienced these same feelings that were confusing and unsettling. I wrote about it in this post, Does Your Life Lack Meaning and Purpose? where I shared about my dark night of the soul and some of the ways I was suffering in spite of being extremely grateful.
It becomes a catch 22….because we’re grateful we resist and try to ignore or turn away from the feelings that can be described as yearnings, longings, feeling lost or disconnected. We feel selfish because we have so much that we are grateful for.
What are these feelings and inner knowing that something is missing in your life trying to tell you?
I have begun to see a pattern in the women I work with and it usually boils down to one of three things:
You Are Disconnected From Yourself
In this scenario, you have been so busy focused on being there for other people that you don’t know who you are. These women often know more about what brings other people happiness and joy and less about what brings you fulfillment and joy. Maybe it’s a need for more adventure, fun, spontaneity, learning, balance or self-care.
This is when the YOU of what makes you, you is missing. You have lost sight of your values, your gifts and what makes your heart sing. The “I am” part of you is buried beneath a whole lot of other people’s stuff. You’re busy being a “good” person and in the process have lost touch with yourself.
You Are Disconnected In Your Relationships
Many women long for deep and fulfilling relationships where they can share their most intimate thoughts and feelings. They want and need a deep connection with people and desire to share their soul with others in a safe and nourishing way.
You’ve probably noticed that the soul is really shy and it will only come out when it feels it’s safe to be vulnerable.
When the soul doesn’t feel safe to come out or we don’t have soulful relationships, there’s a good chance that we’re going to feel that something is missing in our lives. We may feel lonely and disconnected even if we have countless friends.
You Are Disconnected From Something Larger And The Mysteries of Life
Many people are struggling with this one as we increasingly identify ourselves as spiritual and not religious.
Feeling like something is missing is a sign that you have a spiritual yearning that you may not even be aware of. The universe, divine, intelligence, God, higher power or whatever you call “it” is setting off an alarm which may be saying: “You are a spiritual being having a human experience.” When we don’t know how to live as spiritual beings it is not surprising that it feels like something is missing.
Spirituality generally provides direction and a connection to what brings meaning and purpose to our lives, what our deepest values are, what makes us unique and how we connect with matters of the heart and our souls.
In my own life, when I turned towards the feeling that something was missing and opened myself up to hear the answers, I learned that there were things missing in all three areas. As a nurse, wife, mother, and friend I thought I needed to put others first and in that process, I lost my sense of self. I also had a shy soul and although I longed for deep, connected relationships I was afraid to feel vulnerable. And last and probably most significant was the realization that I had no idea what it meant to be a spiritual being. I was living in a spiritual desert and my soul was thirsty for the nourishment and connection to spirit.
What do you do if you feel like something is missing?
1. Accept it and know that you can feel grateful and like something is missing at the same time.
2. Get still and listen for the message in the missing. Give it a voice. What is it trying to tell you? Your natural tendency might be to get busier, but you won’t find what’s missing by doing more of the same.
3. Create opportunities for your soul to come out to play. That may be through workshops, classes, book clubs or other groups of like-minded people. What expands you and what constricts you? Experiment.
4. Open yourself up to what it means to be “spiritual being.” What brings meaning and purpose to your life? How do you communicate with the divine? What are your unique gifts and values and how are you using them in your life? What spiritual teachings resonate with you and what doesn’t?
5. Develop daily habits that nourish your shy soul. That may be meditation, mindfulness, journaling, movement meditations, prayer, walks in nature or anything that creates space for answers to flow into your life.
Do you ever feel like something is missing in your life? Does it fit into one of these three themes or is it something different?