I am very familiar with feeling empty inside and hopeless.
I always used to always ask myself, “why do I feel empty inside?”
A few days ago, when visiting Sydney, I went to Watsons Bay to visit a famous lookout. It is a huge cliff that faces out to the Tasman sea. It stands tall, covered in grasses and smooth rock ledges, and plummets below to craggy rocks that sometimes are overwhelmed with the crashing waves and foaming waters that push full force in that huge cliff. This cliff is known as The Gap.
It is a truly beautiful sight, and with views that take you to the horizon on a clear day. It is also hauntingly sad in that it is an infamous suicide spot that has claimed many lives. People who, in their darkest moment, have chosen to jump that massive cliff and plummet into what lies below. The last thing they will ever do.
I remember standing there and seeing some of the mementos left by loved ones for those who lost their lives there. Little engraved padlocks with messages and some photos and flowers. It is a humbling experience to be where others have been at their absolute lowest and to know this was their chosen last place to make a decision. That their future was deemed too hard and too painful to face, and so, this became their final resting place when they made that final choice.
But this post is not about suicide. It is about self-love. You see, suicide doesn’t kill people…
Being unappreciated does.
Being lied to does.
Being played with does.
Being disappointed does.
Being disrespected does.
Being unloved does.
Being unrecognized does.
Being neglected does.
Being unnoticed does.
Being uncared for does.
When feeling empty inside begins to take over…
Those who suffer want nothing more but to end that crushing, relentless pain. To make it go away.
To end it.
That is what drives people to make decisions that feel like that “gap” inside them could be filled.
I have spoken about The Gap as a landmark, but I think it is also the perfect analogy to the gap we often feel within when we are feeling vulnerable and unloved. When we are feeling empty inside and it just seems to eat us up. We feel like shells. No life. No purpose. Just going through the motions of life, pretending to be okay, when inside, we are destitute.
There is no doubt in my mind that some of the most beautiful and loving people are the same ones who suffer inside (or who have suffered).
When people are feeling empty inside, where there is no other way of dealing with the grief and agony they feel they are immersed in, it limits the choices these people are able to make. When you are on the road to a downward spin and the wheels aren’t slowing, you can hopefully brake softly enough if you can tune into yourself and the ability to love yourself to discover what is going on deep inside.
What to do if you feel empty inside? Remember this…
Self-love is the first love you always need. And it is the last love you need too. But it can be a journey in itself to learn this most precious and necessary skill. It is the love that shines enough when everything else in your life has no light at all. It is the love that allows you to carry on, and still feel your worth, even if you are in a loveless place.
Your ability to do that boils down to several factors. Self-love is a form of resiliency. It’s the emotional insurance policy we depend on when there is no one there to depend on.
It exists to provide self-care and it is tied to your boundaries. Ever had trouble setting boundaries? It is because your self-love needs to be deeper.
Self-love shows up in many forms.
It is self-worth. It is self respect. It is knowing you have value and you have a purpose. It is knowing you are lovable. It is knowing you matter. And even if no one tells you that you matter, inside, you know you do. This is what allows us to stay afloat when the seas turn rough and you have no shelter. You guide yourself. That little inner GPS will speak to you, and you will trust it. You are not waiting for some tall ship to appear in the distance to save you. You can save yourself.
There are messages in everything. Even the negative experiences. These are lessons we are meant to learn so we can grow. If you often feel empty inside, and you feel you cannot fill that emptiness, try this: Think of self-love as self-care.
Self-care is a very tangible thing. It is when you physically and mentally take care of YOU.
It is tangible. And you can FEEL it. Think of warmth. Warm baths, warm showers. A warm bed (Natasha loves weighted blankets).
Think of good food, of nourishment, not binge eating or eating badly.
Think of kindness.
Write yourself a letter. Write down words that resonate with you. Write your qualities down and read what you see in front of you. Yes. That is You!
What do you like? Do things that make you happy inside.
What gives you comfort? Get some of that.
Be your own best friend and treat yourself how you would love to be treated. Take yourself out. Buy flowers. Cook beautiful food. Buy yourself a treat. Watch a movie. Hug yourself. Laugh and enjoy it.
Come to this blog and read. This is a huge source of love and support. And you can be anonymous!
Remember that there will always be people who judge you, who don’t like you, and treat you poorly. The higher you go, the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to feel these things. Self-belief is what you need here. Self-belief. Not self-doubt.
People are entitled to their opinions. So are you.
Just because there is a mismatch between others and what they think and where you are at, it doesn’t devalue you.
Think of someone famous. Even if they are known for a certain skill, they are not the sum total of that skill. They are multi-faceted. So are you. You cannot allow others to define you and your worth. You need to be able to rise above others. Do not look for validation from others. Self-love relies on it!
When life hits hard, we have a natural inclination to focus on the things that went wrong or the negatives, and it is called the “Negative Bias.” Google it. It is interesting stuff! It can hold you back, simply because you can’t let those negatives go, and it changes your filters. Which in turn changes your perspective. We stop believing in ourselves, and we must always have self-belief. You need to tune into that part of you because it will speak to you daily. Nurture yourself with kindness.
Part of self-love is self-acceptance. Know who you are. And love yourself for being that unique individual. Suffering in life doesn’t define you. It makes you stronger, more powerful and gives you new ways to grow and learn. Natasha wrote in her last post:
REMIND YOURSELF, each and every day…
“The fact that I have survived my pain, my past, and myself makes me irreplaceable and irreducible.”
Yes!! It’s true! Believe it! And love yourself for being able to do that!
To finish, I will tell you the rest of the story about this famous Australian landmark. There was a man known as The Angel of the Gap who roamed it for almost 50 Years. He was 85 when he died.
He saved around 160 lives but simply going up to individuals he sensed were stressed and asking them, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Think about that for a minute.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What can I do to help myself through this?” You can talk to someone, you can seek support. But every day, practice self-care. It will repay you in spades. And you don’t need anyone else to help you with that.
In memory of the Angel of the Gap, there is a tribute wall there which has a quote from him:
“Always remember the power of the simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear, and a kind word” – Don Ritchie
These are such beautiful words. The little things are really the big things in life. That is where self-love starts. In the little things.
Remember that no one really wants to end their life. They want to end the pain. They want to fill the void that feels like they are empty inside. That there is nothing left to give.
Learn to be kind to yourself and practice self-care. Then when the tides change, you will stay afloat. Know your worth. Keep those boundaries in place. They will help keep you safe.
Even if all you feel is pain, remember that pain is there because you are full of love and you want to give it and receive it. You have value. Love has value. Take that message and start from there. Go outside and get in the fresh air. Run. Walk. Feel the cold. Feel the warmth. Touch the breeze. Catch raindrops on your tongue. Feel nature. Connect. You are not alone. Nature is a powerful platform to get you out of a negative mindset and give you some connectedness. It will give you a sense of meaning and fill you up. Start there. You must not fall, you need to fill up.
If you are feeling empty inside, keep in mind…
You are not empty, you just feel emptiness. There is a difference.
When you feel a void inside you when you are trying to fill that gap, hang on. To yourself. You are not a reflection of what others do or say. You are not less because you have been rejected. You are not responsible for other people’s inability to love you or value you. If people treat you thoughtlessly, unkindly or snub you – that is on THEM. Don’t let other people’s issues become a shadow that you live in. Recognize it for what it is:
Nothing. To. Do. With. You.
Part of the reason we suffer so terribly when we are heartbroken is because we allow ourselves to believe it is about US. No, it is about the other person’s choice that affected you in a negative way. This is why you need to stop trying to fix it. You don’t need to fix it. They do.
You need to practice self-love by caring for yourself in ways those who broke your heart couldn’t.
Remember, your insurance policy: Self-love. It safeguards you against all species of toxic people. Those boundaries? They are built to protect you. When someone tramples on one, you will feel it. There is the only action you need to take. At that point, you need to SHOW the other party STOP. ENOUGH.
If your level of self-love is low, you will find that difficult. But remember, self-love is like anything that grows. It starts off tiny, but it will begin to sprout when you feed it with self-care.
Those good feelings will teach you about what you WANT, and what you NEED more of. Your boundaries will kick in because they are part of self-love. And they will speak to you when you are not getting the love you deserve. You will begin to attract those people who will treat you well, because your boundaries are expressed in the way you talk, carry yourself, and respond. (Natasha talks all the time about not reacting but responding – it’s GOLD, so practice it!).
Respond in ways that reflect what your standards are instead of impulsively reacting to the negativity from others. Leave them to deal with that. Go be kind to you.
In a way, self-love is toxicity repellant. People will hit a brick wall against your boundaries when you love yourself enough to enforce them.
Choose yourself. And remember there is a good side to everything. If you are feeling empty inside, you’ll sense it when it is small. You don’t have to let it get so big that it becomes a gaping abyss.
When you feeling empty inside, see it as a space to fill. With Love. Self-love first.
Then watch what happens. And remember these words:
I am not empty. I am full of love…
With so much love to you, the readers of these words.
Here is a photo of the Gap…
This post was written by Natasha Adamo team member, Lorelle.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationships, please look into working with me here.