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 a shadow belief that’s ingrained in many of us from a young age – that when we have a better or different relationship, a more fulfilling job, more money, the next vacation, a better body, or a number of other things 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?
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 and our conditioned self.
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 us 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.
The dark night of the soul which is more accurately the dark night of the personality becomes an initiation into living a life with deeper presence, connection, fulfillment, alignment, and meaning.
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 deeper, more authentic 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?
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.
When we are overly identified with our personality, which includes our thoughts, emotions, and bodily responses we lose touch with our essence. We’re disconnected from the qualities of our souls such as integrity, love, authenticity, creativity, inner wisdom, courage, joy, power, and inner peace.
The more we strive and try to force this inner sense of well-being and flourishing the more constricted we feel.
We may be longing for more feelings of connection in our relationships.
As we begin to awaken we are less satisfied with living at the shallow end of life. We crave relationships that feel deeper and connected at the level of the heart, not just intellect.
Our souls expand through love and compassion and this requires that we have 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 and that something is missing.
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 when our souls awaken that we’re invited to become more emotionally evolved.
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 our soul is needing a heartfelt connection and it’s not available to us, we’re going to feel like something is missing.
We 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 that 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. Many awakening souls get stuck in aligning their inner calling with their outer purpose. I explore this further in, The Biggest Reason We Get Stuck When Seeking A More Meaningful Life.
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 acknowledges 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.
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 a journey of self-discovery where you let go of who you are not to embrace who you are meant to become.
When we create space, turn inward and get curious about what’s missing in our lives, we open the door to evolving into a more authentic, peaceful, and loving version of ourselves with a vibrant, connected and meaningful life.
If you feel called, please leave a comment below. Our community would love to hear from you!
(Published August 2017- Updated July 2020)