Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How can I go from a place where there is never enough love to a place where I love myself, and it lasts?

Asked by wundayatta (58321 points ) November 15th, 2009

I think I’ve discussed this before—I asked a question about feeling an emptiness inside—one that wants to be filled with love, and yet, no matter how much is poured in, the hole remains as large as ever. I’ve had any number of loves in my life, and yet I’m still insecure about being worthy of anyone’s love. I’ve sought love after love (love addiction?) and it never works (although I do feel good about myself for a little while.

This emptiness has other consequences, too. The worst of this is that this emptiness makes me question any talent or positive attribute I may possess. For example, I really want to help people, and I work hard to be understanding and empathetic so that I can provide useful advice to people. I want to help people so that they will appreciate me. And it works. Except it never takes as far as I’m concerned. It’s as if I get a flash of good feeling about myself, and then it’s gone, and nothing I did in the past counts, and there’s no certainty I’ll ever say anything useful again.

When I imagine what it would take to make me feel ok, it involves being loved—loved by more and more women—expressing their love physically. It’s not something I can have, even if it were socially acceptable. It’s just an image, anyway, that expresses what I feel it would take to make me into a decent person. Although I have believed that image, and sought out affair after affair. Then never worked, though.

What I’m wondering is if there is anyone else out there who has an experience similar to this. Have you managed to find a way to feel good about yourself? If so, how? What did you do? And what happened in that process—what was the change in consciousness that allowed you to feel complete? Where did you start on this journey, and where are you now? And also, did anyone ever feel like they were holding onto the emptiness? As if you didn’t want to ever feel complete?

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13 Answers

Justnice's avatar

Wow I think I might feel just as you do. I have this unbelieveable feeling that my life is empty and pointless. I just seek love from anyone. I try so hard to be excepted and loved by everybody. Whenever I am happy, it doesn’t last for long. The worst part about it is that I have a boyfriend who I love so much and he loves me but I still feel so empty. There’s nothing that makes me happy. I would love to know the answer to this question when you figure it out.

filmfann's avatar

You should read the book Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. It may not help, but you will find someone with the same issues.

ninjacolin's avatar

wow,.. just feeling underappreciated. sounds like you have somehow an obsession or an addiction to the feeling of gratitude… and maybe sex.

maybe you could seek counseling for that?

ninjacolin's avatar

i mean, assuming it’s somehow a bad thing. have you considered what it would take/cost to somehow embrace this feature of yourself?

ccrow's avatar

Do you feel like you hold onto it because it’s part of how you define yourself? Maybe not so much not wanting to feel complete as not knowing how to be different? I think you have to realize that you are, in fact, worthy of love… as long as you feel like you don’t deserve it, the hole will never be filled. I’m not sure how I’ve gotten here, but I accept who & what I am, & accept resposibility for things I’ve done that have hurt others. I am far from perfect & have done things I regret but I am reasonably happy now. You said “I really want to help people…and then it’s gone, and nothing I did in the past counts,” It sounds to me as if the negative part of your mind is telling you that. If you do something good, then…it was good. Even if you never do anything else, it still was good. It doesn’t somehow become less. Really, there’s no certainty any of us will say something useful, any day of the week. Try looking at yourself, & things you do, as if it were someone else. Would this deed, statement, act, whatever be something good if done by someone else? If the answer is yes, then cut yourself a little slack! You are a good & worthwhile person! (((hugs)))

kevbo's avatar

You know, @daloon, I was thinking along similar lines today. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I haven’t been healthy in a mental sense in a very long time. And the thing about that is that you’ll never progress so long as that’s the case. Recognizing what wellness looks like and deciding for oneself to become well is probably one of the first steps. I was thinkting today about flowers and trees and other things in nature. Most just express their essence—they flower or grow tall or whatever. They express their purpose. Some don’t, of course, and they grow funny or ugly, or die soon in their life cycle. We sort of get to choose what we want to be like at some point when we become self aware. So your growth may have been stunted in some way that got you to the place you are today, but it is possible for you to become self aware and grow beyond the limitations you are dealing with, or to accept them and figure out how they are integrated with your expression of purpose. It’s a mindfulness step. Stand outside yourself and see how you can fit in the world or vice versa.

Secondly, let me recommend the show “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew,” which airs on VH1. It as some educational info about sex addiction manifestation, and I would bet there are nuggets to be gleaned from watching. I’m not saying you’re a sex addict, but the info is certainly worthwhile. I think Episode 3 airs tonight.

If it helps, I’ll add that I’m more or less a male whore stuck in neutral and not sure what to do about it. I blame the fact that my opprtunities for sexual expression were systematically muted when I was younger.

wundayatta's avatar

If I’m not involved in an intense (meaningful and interesting) interaction with someone, then I feel lonely. Reading a good novel or interacting on fluther are like that intense interaction, except without the body. Without embodiment, well, there is no there there, but I can fool myself for a little while.

I think it’s getting worse, or more urgent, or something. I am fighting myself just about all the time, now. Going down the rabbit hole, and yet pulling myself back. Every thought is like that. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I want to give in. But that’s just romanticism. I don’t really want to end up homeless or die. I shouldn’t even be thinking about it, because that makes it worse—I have this image of me turning in circles like a dog, with my head up my ass.

My wife said that one of the things she liked about me when we began our relationship was my reliability. When I said I’d do something, I did it. I still have that. I never make a promise I can’t fulfill. I am completely dutiful for my responsibilities. I could never run away from them, but I do wish I could. Not that anywhere else would be any better, and my responsibilities would be sitting in my head, weighing down my mind. Circling around myself again. I wish it would stop, and I love it at the same time. It makes me feel intense—like I matter. But I know it’s an illusion.

ccrow's avatar

Why do you think it’s an illusion that you matter? I’m sure you matter to your wife.

MrBr00ks's avatar

I have much the same problem, except I almost never feel fulfilled by my wife. She almost never makes me feel good about myself, and she doesn’t even try. So I have been trying to rely less on her for that, so I tend to do things alot more for family lately, even when it inconveniences me, (like today, helping my dad move a couch even though i need my Sunday nap and i am sicker than I have been in years) , just so I feel like I am more important to my family. I know what I need to make myself feel better, like abundant affection from my wife and possibly validation in my quest to be a writer/get an English teaching job. But since Im not close to either yet, I have been focusing on other things, instead of the things I should be. I keep reminding myself to remember my brothers advice, and that is this: “You let too many people and things affect your happiness. Who are these people, that they should affect you to the point of making you angry all the time or a nervous wreck? What is a thing, that it should be given control over your emotions? What these people do and say do not matter enough to be given that control over your emotions, that thing that is causing you grief is not important enough to affect you like that.” (paraphrasing) I also like to remember the vastness of the universe, and compare it to whatever I am going through. I hope you find what you are looking for.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@daloon going straight to the comment box without reading anyone else’s answers to keep my thoughts pure. I might end up revealing more about myself than I should but this question struck a nerve with me. No guaranteed answers though.

I did some horrible things when I was sixteen. Things that I’m sure still affect the people I did them to. They may have forgotten about it, or forgiven me, but I can do neither. The emptiness I feel is partially caused by self-hatred. I hate what I did and who I was when I did it. There were other stupid things I did in my twenties, that while not as bad as my teenage actions, I still feel shame at the thought of them. I was an idiot back then. I may still be an idiot now.

So how do I fill that empty void? I don’t know, I have yet to find a way to begin to fill it up. I already know that affairs won’t work; what I need to fix me cannot be found outside of me. It’s in here; in the three pounds of meat inside my head that the solution lies. My suicidal tendencies last February came on because I was obsessing on my teen age crimes and my mid-twenties stupidity. I got myself so low and was filled with so much self-loathing that suicide seemed the right way to correct a wrong. A way to end the suffering I have endured for over thirty years.

Lots of people like me, love me, and want me to be happy. I would like to be happy too, and I can only make myself happy by not focusing on the emptiness. Does my existence matter? To some people the answer is yes. My wife would be shattered to a million pieces if I were to kill myself. My friends and family would spend their remaining years on this planet wondering why they didn’t see the signs. My wife would blame herself, and feel guilt for it, even though she had nothing to do with it. My friendsa and family would be confused at the thougth of me, who seems like Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky offing myself.

I love my wife enough not to do that to her, so I just suffer in my mind, knowing that I am not worthy of her love, but I try to accept it, because maybe she sees something in me that I cannot. And I think, if my friends knew the real me, they’d probably go running in th eother direction as fast as their legs could carry them.

@daloon I don’t have an answer for you; Hell, I don’t even have an answer for me. I do know that the drugs I am on have helped. I can focus on my good qualities and push the bad ones away. I used to spend a lot of time writing, but I don’t do that anymore. I’m not sure if it because of the Prozac, or maybe the Internet. Hell, it might even be Fluther. =)

But I hope you find what you need, and I hope you find it soon. I hate to see anyone suffer, especially someone I look up to and respect, which is how I feel about you.

RedPowerLady's avatar

The first thing that popped into my head is if you are able to answer this question.
“What am I able to love about myself that has nothing to do with other people?”.
Being able to fill yourself up takes lots of practice for some people. Active practice. Forcing yourself to be alone and just practice finding ways to fill yourself up.

Just an initial thought.

Just_Justine's avatar

Your thoughts have often reminded me of the “borderline” personality. Where a terrible emptiness engulfs the person. I am not sure any one here can solve this for you.

I have never felt empty I am not sure what empty feels like. I feel other “negative” emotions and yes, at times I do feel unloved. But probably because I do not have a real SO and also not much family. But I believe one creates ones life and I have created this.

I can also create a new life if I so wish.

wundayatta's avatar

Lately, I haven’t been aware of the emptiness. I feel like it’s still there, lurking, waiting for me to get depressed. But maybe it’s gone? Who knows?

Empty is like you don’t count. You are a ghost. You have the shell of a human, but, spiritually speaking, nothing makes sense. You are not working towards your purpose and you can’t imagine ever doing so, and besides, no one else will care, nor do they care now, and the choices you made don’t even matter to you any more, much less others. Shall I go on?

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