“Emptiness has a way of demanding to be filled.” ~Lysa Terkeurst
I read this phrase in Lysa’s book Made To Crave. After I read it, the sentenced bounced around in my soul until the message fully coated all that was in me. How are you choosing to fill the emptiness that is tugging on you for attention? Are those ways helping you or hurting you?
Feeling empty is not something we can see in others or recognize in ourselves. I was savoring the hug my oldest son gave me one morning before he went to school. He wrapped his little arms around my waist and laid his head on my belly as we swayed side-to-side in precious mommy and son time—made all the sweeter, because he initiated the hug. As I am enjoying our embrace, my son says,
“Mommy, you are hungry.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Because your tummy is growling.”
My son couldn’t hear my hunger when he looked at me that morning. He couldn’t hear my hunger when I kissed his forehead. He heard my hunger in the quiet still of an embrace. He could only hear my hunger because the emptiness inside was demanding to be filled.
Do you ever feel empty? Do you ever feel like no one is paying attention to the growling that is going on? Doesn’t this frustrate you? You just wish someone, anyone, would prove that they see you…I mean really see you.
I hate to admit it, but when I get hungry, I get mean. I am not pleasant to be around. I snap at people. I lose focus. I am pretty useless until my hunger is fulfilled.
As a leadership and executive coach, I meet a lot of leaders who are the same way- Empty inside. Poor communication skills are a sign of emptiness. Leaders who berate, humiliate, and embarrass others are showing us that their emptiness is demanding to be filled. Likewise, leaders who refuse to make decisions, don’t confront, and lack vision are showing us that their emptiness is demanding to be filled.
We all have different reasons for arriving on empty. I am not going to pretend that being a better communicator will magically fill you. I wouldn’t insult your intelligence like that. I will say that the way you communicate when you are empty may be a sign of what is causing your emptiness.
If you start to reign tighter, it could be a sign that you fear losing control. If you relinquish control, that could be a sign that you are afraid of taking a risk, or fear having to live with the consequences. If you feel anxious, it could be a sign that a personal value has been threatened.
When I am hungry, I feel justified in being short, snappy, or rude until I am filled. For something like physical emptiness, it doesn’t take long to be filled. You can go eat a meal and you are back to “normal”. But, what if your emptiness is not physical, but spiritual or emotional? Filling that emptiness could take years, or even a lifetime. How will you be until then? Will your rudeness, insecurity, and poor communication habits become the “norm” because your emptiness is demanding to be filled?
If emptiness has a way of demanding to be filled, then we have the choice of how to fill it.
As an entrepreneur, there are times I doubt my ability. Can I do this business thing? Can I be successful and make a good income? Does anyone else care about having meaningful relationships through respect-based, trust-filled, and smart communication interactions? I know those aren’t good questions. They create a doubt and magnify the fact that I am empty for significance. My emptiness demands to be filled, so I try to fill it by working harder, not smarter. I begin attending too many webinars; reading too many books, blogs, or articles; or getting involved in too many networking groups. When I get busy with all this hard work, I hear my emptiness even louder.
A sure sign that your attempt to fill your emptiness is NOT working is when you are doing more, accomplishing less, and feeling more empty.
Here is how you can fill your emptiness:
- Confront it. If you ignore your emptiness, you will unconsciously continue to fill it with poor choices.
- Get brutally honest. Be honest with yourself about what you feel and why? Take the time to listen to the hunger.
- Seek help. Find a resource, coach, friend, or counselor that can help you chart a path from where you are to where you want to go.
Filling my emptiness had the mental image of a firmly planted tree by water. I am that tree that is deeply rooted and not tossed back and forth with the wind or scared of the waves. Tactically, this means that I am a business owner who is not jumping on every trend in entrepreneurship. I have developed a solid plan and am working my plan.
Emptiness has a way of demanding to be filled. So, fill emptiness in a way that makes you and those around you better.
What are some common ways people attempt to fill the emptiness?