Has somebody ever asked how you are and you’re just not sure what to say?
It’s not that you don’t want to say, it’s just that the only word that comes to mind is nothing at all. Empty.
If you’ve been feeling that way, it’s time to take a closer look at habits that could be sabotaging your well-being without you even realizing it.
1) Taking the easy way out
It’s common to hear that life’s hard, and that’s true.
But many of us grow the most and become stronger, happier people through trials and struggle.
In many cases, these hard times aren’t our choice, but looking back we can see how they shaped our resolve, willpower and direction in life.
There’s a problem, however:
The problem is that most of us choose the easiest option when we get a choice of what to do next…
The job that will take the least effort, the relationship we can coast through, the lifestyle that requires the least input.
It seems obvious: relax, enjoy the ride, man. Right?
Well, not quite. In fact, taking the easiest default option often leaves us feeling empty and lost with this feeling of what’s the point?
Human beings are made to strive and face challenges.
2) Falling into the victim mindset
A subset of taking the easy way out is the victim mindset.
Being victimized is clearly a real and horrific thing, and it’s never OK for somebody to mistreat and victimize others.
But when you’ve faced injustice and been victimized, it’s crucial not to internalize that into your identity and your story.
You were victimized, you have been treated unfairly, but your identity is not that of a victim.
And life will not treat you more kindly or give you advantages because of being victimized.
This is so hard to say, but it needs to be said, because we often can’t grow until we 100% accept that the ways we’ve been mistreated are not the source of our power or authority: how we respond to them are.
3) Waiting on the world to change
Many of us develop a habit of emotional passivity.
We’re “waiting on the world to change,” as the singer John Mayer sings.
The problem is that we end up waiting our whole lives and abdicate our own role in helping it change. The world isn’t going to change without each of us. No matter how small, we each play a role and our emotions, thoughts and contributions absolutely do matter.
Even more so now in our digital age, what we do in the physical world and our person-to-person actions is amplified and vital.
It’s important to start going after your goals and mission rather than waiting for somebody else to do it.
This ties into the next point…
4) Being physically inactive and passive
Our bodies are made to move, our lungs are made to breathe, our lips are made to talk and kiss.
When we sit inside and play video games or lounge around every day after work (or during work), it takes a heavy toll.
Our posture suffers…
Our emotions suffer…
Our minds begin to decay.
It’s just not healthy to stay inside all the time or become physically passive. On a deep level we all know this.
But the key is to start doing something about it, even if that just means starting with a short daily jog or bike ride or signing up for twice-weekly yoga classes.
No matter how small you start, start!
5) Indulging in too much TV and screen time
Smartphone addiction is out of control and many of us spend untold hours browsing streaming services half the day.
The result is generally a feeling of emptiness.
What do you do after you’ve checked every notification, refreshed every tab twice and seen every show?
What’s left when the inbox is empty, when the games are all played, when the films are all streamed?
Do you just wait for Mission Impossible 20 to come out?
Too much screentime simply isn’t good for you, nor is it good for your eyesight and optical nerve.
It;s important to take a break, get outside, breathe some fresh air, cook, play music, kiss somebody you love and play with your pets!
Don’t let screens rob your life force.
6) Relying on somebody else to make you happy or fulfill you
Loving somebody is a beautiful thing worth spending your time and energy on.
But relying on somebody to make you happy or fulfill you romantically or as a family member, friend or colleague, is a losing bet.
It can’t work, and it’s bound to lead to mutual disappointment and disempowerment.
This is the type of thing that you may hear a lot and feel like is old news, but it’s really important to emphasize:
The key to your happiness is you and what you give, not what (or who) you get.
7) Following unhealthy and toxic spiritual teachings
If you look up something like “feeling empty inside” you’re sure to find a lot of advice, some good, some not so good.
The problem is that the self-help and spiritual space is full of some pretty toxic teachings disguised as sound advice.
Perhaps the most misleading is the so-called Law of Attraction, which divides life into high and low vibrations and pure and impure states.
This type of binary view blames people for creating their own reality and claims that negativity is what holds you back from your potential.
It’s time to start accepting all of yourself, including your shadow and the difficult emotions you’d rather ignore or “otherize” as “bad,” “evil” or “stupid.”
They’re part of your human experience at this time and they’re part of your growth.
Don’t fall into the habit of gaslighting yourself. Face life in all its ups and downs and you’ll find that growth begins to naturally occur.
8) Falling prey to imposter syndrome and self-doubt
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that no matter how much you accomplish you don’t deserve it or belong in the position you’ve reached.
It can hit you when you’re going to work out in the gym or when you’ve just been promoted at your job.
It often has roots in early childhood trauma or lack of support and manifests as a low-lying and incessant self-doubt.
When you get stuck in life it can often be related to this:
An inner doubting voice that tells you that you’re not meant to move up in the world, that nobody will truly love you, that you’re not truly worthy.
This voice isn’t you, and it’s not keeping you safe or in your place. It’s actually misleading you.
It’s important to face it head on and come to grips with the fact that it’s simply not you.
In fact, it’s a manifestation of an unnecessary psychological coping mechanism that you now have the power to override.
9) Clinging to too many unhealthy habits and addictions
Unhealthy habits and addictions aren’t just drugs and alcohol as some may think.
People get addicted to work, to casual sex, to pornography, to gambling, to traveling, to anger, to streaming shows, to social media.
No matter how seemingly small the addiction, it’s not just the damage it does to your body or mind that’s the issue.
The issue is the time it takes out of your day and the energy it uses up that could be better spent on other endeavors in your life that would leave you less empty.
So why do so many of us still cling to unhealthy habits and attempted quick-fixes?
It’s all part of trying to:
Fill the hole inside
Have you ever noticed this?
No matter how much you try to fill the hole inside it just grows.
We see that with depressed celebrities who still suffer from severe feelings of inadequacy and disappointment.
No outer validation or accomplishment can fill that void you feel.
But changing your habits will position you to begin seeing the hole in a completely new way:
This hole is not a lack or a deficiency in you, it’s actually raw potential.
The misery, frustration and listlessness you may be feeling could have chemical roots in some cases, but in many cases it may also be directly linked to succumbing to unhealthy habits.
It could be directly linked to taking the easy route when your body, mind and soul wants more of a mission, challenge and goal in life.
Try changing the habits I’ve outlined above and get back to me with your results: I think you will be pleasantly surprised!