I have listened to countless people tell me their life feels like it’s missing something. They report feeling depressed, bored, restless, or just unhappy. Sometimes there are really good reasons for feeling unhappy: significant loss, clinical depression, hard circumstances.
However, there are lots of people awakening to the reality that their life is going “pretty good” but still sense that something is bothering them. Often mistaking this restlessness as anxiety or depression they ask what psychotherapy tools or medication might help them. Often once we’ve complete our assessment the simplest explanation is actually the truth. Your life feels empty, because it is. All of the job promotions, house renovations, fun vacations, seem to leave you feeling hungry for more. So like most people you try more career ambitions, (start your own business) but find you’re already unhappy with what you’ve accomplished. You try new relationships but find they are never enough, even when they are going well. You try exercise and dieting and enter marathons only to feel like you never measure up, always trying to beat your last completion time or challenge. After a while even vacations start to feel the same and never deliver the rest or adventure they promised. When you talk to your friends about it they seem oblivious that life should offer more.
Many people are content to work, survive, and enjoy their weekends with little thought or anxiety about what their life is about, which ultimately leaves you feeling lonely because you sense something is wrong with your life but you can’t figure out what is missing. Is something wrong with you because you can’t be happy with a good job, relationships, and health? Or is something wrong with everyone else who seems to be content with just a good job, health, and relationship?
Perhaps the reason you feel like something is missing from your life, is because there IS! Perhaps the reasons you feel like your life lacks meaning, is because it DOES!. You have a hunger for food, and it’s available. You thirst for water, it’s available. You want to be productive with you time, and work is available. You want entertainment and rest, it’s available. You have desires for sex, and it’s available (mostly). But you also have a hunger for meaning and significance. You want more than a work week that pays the bills, and allows you to have fun on weekends just so you can do the whole week again. You cannot deny you want more, but where to find it?
Many people word argue there is not meaning to life, there is just life and then it ends so enjoy the life you have while you have life in you. This would seem to be the largest cosmological joke ever. To have a desire inside of you that you cannot deny, yet to be told there is nothing in this universe that can satisfy your deepest desires? To have a hunger for something would suggest is exists just as much as food, water, and sex. Perhaps the reason you feel empty is because you’re awakening to your desire for meaning and realizing you’re life doesn’t have any meaning beyond your survival and entertainment.
If that is you, it is time you start asking these questions with someone who wants to walk the journey with you who won’t dismiss your thirst for meaning as irrelevant. Perhaps it’s the most important question of your life.
It would be my privilege to pursue the question with you.
David Knapp, Masters of Counselling, Certified Canadian Counsellor
Specializing: Individuals,Couples, Families, Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Addictions, PTSD,Rehabilitation, Personality Disorders, Self Harm, Drug and Alcohol Use
For more information, visit us at any of our Counselling Centers in Burlington, Brampton, Hamilton, Grimsby, Mississauga, Muskoka, Oakville, St. Catharines and Kitchener/Waterloo.
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