Many of us are driven by inner restlessness and longing. A sense that something is missing in life although it is difficult to put our finger on what it is.
We have the belief (even though we may not be aware of it) that when we have a better relationship, a more fulfilling job, more money, the next vacation, a better body or a number of other things that we’ll feel satisfied. That our life will feel more complete.
And yet even when we get a new relationship, more money or whatever it is we still feel there must be more.
So what is it that we’re really looking for? What are we seeking?
At the heart of this seeking is the need to know who we are and why we are here. What is this journey we call life all about?
“There’s a part of every living thing that wants to become itself, the tadpole into the frog, the chrysalis into the butterfly, a damaged human being into a whole one. That is spirituality.” ~ Ellen Bass
This sense that something is missing is often an invitation to become more aware of our essence and who we are beyond the surface level of our life.
I personally experienced a feeling of what I came to call “soul hunger” in my own life which manifested as stress-related health issues, relationship troubles and a lack of meaning and purpose.
This soul hunger is an invitation to embark on an inner journey in order to understand ourselves better and shed the limiting beliefs that are holding us back from becoming our best and most authentic selves.
It often happens at a time in our life when we’re acutely aware that we have a lot to be grateful for.
We notice an inner tug of war between the part of us that tells ourselves we should just be grateful and the part of ourselves that tells us there must be “more.”
And if feeling lost and confused isn’t enough we also feel lonely because we find that most people don’t understand what we’re experiencing. We get the message-
“You have so much and are so fortunate what could possibly be missing in your life?”
I get it because I have been there and experienced these same feelings that were confusing and unsettling. I experienced a dark night of the soul and was really suffering even though I had SO much to feel grateful for.
What are these feelings and inner knowing that something is missing in our lives trying to tell us?
I began to see a pattern in the people I mentor and it usually boils down to three things:
We may be disconnected from our true selves.
In this scenario, we have been so busy focusing on other people or fulfilling the many roles in our lives that we lose touch with our innermost selves. We may have put a lot of time and energy into raising a family, and/or work and then something changes and we’re left asking- Who am I without these roles or this job? What am I meant to “do” now?
It’s not uncommon to lose sight of our own unique values, gifts, needs and what makes us feel most vital and alive.
Our authentic self can easily get buried beneath a whole lot of layers and beliefs. We’re busy being a “good” person and doing what we should do to be productive human beings and in the process, we can lose touch with who we actually are and who we’re meant to become.
We may be longing for deeper and more meaningful relationships.
As we begin to awaken we are less satisfied with living at the shallow end of life.
Our souls long for deep and fulfilling relationships where we can share our most intimate thoughts and feelings with those closest to us.
We want and need deeper connections with people and have a desire to share and discover our authentic selves with others in a safe and nourishing way.
Just as we are meant to grow and evolve, our relationships are also meant to grow and evolve. When this doesn’t happen it’s common to feel like our relationships lack depth.
While earlier in our lives we may be satisfied with relationships that enable us to share the tasks and manage the roles in our lives, there comes a point that our souls need something deeper.
What meets our needs in one chapter of our life doesn’t meet our needs in the next.
Shifting our way of being from a needs-based relationship into more soulful relationships, can be very challenging. But if the soul is needing a deeper connection and it’s not available to us, we are going to feel like something is missing.
Our soul may be longing for deeper meaning and purpose.
This gnawing sense that something is missing in life is a sign that we have a spiritual yearning that we may not be aware of.
It’s an invitation from our soul to bring our life into alignment with our core essence. In The Call of the Soul: 10 Signs Your Soul is Speaking to You, I explore this further.
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.
Our society values material success, achievement, status, and identification with our roles. When we achieve these things and/or something changes we are confused about what does bring us deeper meaning and purpose.
We find ourselves asking what are often considered to be questions arising from our souls- Is this all there is? How am I meant to contribute to something larger than myself? Where am I meant to invest this energy that previously went into my traditional roles and responsibilities?
Spirituality stirs a sense of curiosity, mystery and way of being that acknowledge that there is a life force beyond our control at play in our lives.
The sense that something is missing in life is ultimately an invitation to embark on an inner journey to understand ourselves and get in the “flow” of something much larger than our ego selves.
It’s an opportunity to shift and pivot in our lives from doing what was expected of us in the first half of our lives to responding to what needs to emerge through us for the next part of our journey.
This shift is challenging for many of us and is often a reason that people feel stuck when seeking a more meaningful life.
Eckhart Tolle, one of the great spiritual teachers of our time, explains that when we’re disconnected from our essence we commonly feel like something is missing.
Ultimately, the feeling that something is missing is a powerful sign that you’re disconnected from your higher self and you’re being called to grow.
In the blog, Do You Feel Something Is Missing In Your Life? These Tips May Help I share suggestions for your next steps. It also includes a 10-minute recording of a core meditation practice. That would be my recommendation for a place to start.
When we create space, turn inward and get curious about what is missing in our lives, we open the door to evolving into a more authentic, peaceful and loving version of ourselves.
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(Published August 2017- Updated July 2020)