How to Fill the Void after a Breakthrough
Ever since I made the decision that I wanted a happier life I've been living in a constant cycle. It goes something like this....breakthrough....reality check (which means anything from a moment of acceptance to an ugly cry)...the void....and then fulfillment. If you're familiar with this emotional cycle than you are familiar with the dreaded void.
What is the 'Void'?
"The Void" as I like to call it is when you've allowed all of the negative mental energy around a past event to leave your body and you feel this strong sense of emptiness... through forgiveness or acceptance. Sometimes it feels like you've had your guts ripped out but most of the time it feels like a persistent hole in your stomach. I had a huge breakthrough (epiphany) over the weekend and woke up with a 'void' that feels like part of my identity was stolen. I feel unsure and my body doesn't 100% feel like its mine.
It all started when I asked myself a very strong question, "why am I still in this situation?" You see, I've been living in limbo since I moved to San Francisco. I've been renting a room in a house and feeling frustrated that I still haven't found my own place. I was frustrated and I felt like I had become a child again...even though I'm actually an independent and accomplished 40 year old woman.
I now understand that I've been in limbo because I hadn't dealt with feelings of unworthiness and helplessness from when I was a child...I've been unknowingly repeating a cycle over and over in my life because my mind hadn't resolved the past....thus drawing in similar situations.
How to Fill the Void
So now I sit here in the 'void' and man is it uncomfortable. It's so painful that I began to wonder if I should just end it all. But you know what snapped me out of it? Realizing that through my epiphany I had killed part of myself...part of my identity...and my body is grieving the loss....and this loss makes me feel unsure. It's almost like when a relative you really don't like dies but you still feel a sense of deep emptiness. They might have been a negative force in your life but they were part of your life....and now they're gone.
So as I sit here I'm reflecting on how I've filled the void in the past....I feel this burning need to share them with you....because I've been living this cycle for the past eight years...all the while working through some pretty serious stuff. So for those of you who are just starting this journey to happiness and feel like you've been struck in the gut by the void I'm here to share some of my wisdom. It's not perfect wisdom, but it's mine....and I hope it helps.
One: Remember it's a Cycle
When you're in the void one of the most important things is to remember that it won't last forever. It's part of a larger cycle ...and the road always leads to a more fulfilled existence....if you let go and accept it.
Where I see most people get stuck in the void is when they start to tell themselves that this feeling will never go away....and this makes this stage of the cycle last even longer. So when feelings of hopelessness pop up and you feel like ending it all or diving head first into a bucket of mint chocolate chip ice cream... remember that we're part of something larger and in nature some of the most beautiful trees grow from the ashes of a forest fire. In fact, these beautiful baby trees would never even have had a chance to grow had the fires not burned away all of the foliage that was blocking the sun. The void is right after the fire when the forest is still and it looks like nothing will ever grow there again. When you find yourself here just remember to look up at sun.
Two: Remember that Nature Abhors a Vacuum
I woke up this morning with the phrase 'nature abhors a vacuum' in my head. It just kept repeating itself as I lay there and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why until I sat down to write this blog post. You see 'voids' are always temporary. They're unnatural...literally. So your void will be filled by something....so be conscious of what is filling it.
So when you're in the void it's extra important to check in with what you want. If you have a vision board spend some quality time in front of it....if you've written down your ideal day, go read it...and maybe even print it out and carry it around with you for a few days. And if you have neither of these things or have never even heard of them, then take about 10 minutes and write down at least 5 things that you want to accomplish in the next year that would dramatically improve your life....print it out...and read it to yourself at least 5 times over the next 30 days.
Three: Relax and Accept
The best way to stay in a situation is to resist it.....so remember when you're in the thick of 'the void' to accept it. Don't try to force your way out. Instead take a few deep breaths throughout your day and allow your body and mind to accept the emptiness.
Four: Move your Body
At the beginning or end of your day (or both if you can), take at least 30 minutes and move your body. Take a walk down one of your favorite streets while deeply breathing in and out. Be aware of your senses as you walk. Smell in the smells. Listen to the hustle and bustle or the quiet....whatever it is about that place that makes you like it. But just remember to move. Our bodies and our minds are intimately connected. 'The void' is a physical state as well as a mental state of being and moving helps you to process it quicker....
If you enjoy an intense workout regime that's wonderful (I do too), but don't substitute this for a walk. Sometimes high intense workouts are all about pushing yourself....they can sometimes feel forced...so maybe for a few days do one of two things: add a walk to your day somehow or substitute a yoga class for your usual regime.
I swear... it helps a great deal.
Four: Take Action
Even after taking the above steps you're still going to feel a sense of emptiness (especially after a huge breakthrough) and you're going to feel uncomfortable. Pay attention to what makes you uncomfortable now....especially in your physical environment.
Is there a particular room in your home that makes you uncomfortable now? Or particular kinds of objects? These things that are bothering you are objects that emotionally resonate with your state of being or your identity before the breakthrough..the part of you that you've shed...and it's important to take pause and reassess what your environment is reflecting back to you.
Six: Give yourself Time
Sometimes 'the void' can last for hours and sometimes it can last for weeks....so just remember to give yourself time. It takes however long it takes. Just keep going through the above exercises and know that fulfillment is on it's way.....because it is!