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When Your Heart Feels Empty

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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistOctober 16, 2019

Feeling a sense of emptiness in your heart can be soul-wrenching. It can bring episodes of intense aloneness, and then also a deep, yet dull, pain that pulls you down every day like an anchor. It’s important not to despair. With some guidance, effort and persistence, you can fill that emptiness and live a happy life.

How can you do this? Below are some important steps. Each one, though not complicated, will take concerted effort on your part. You might find it helpful to write in a journal about your commitment to help yourself, as well as your struggles along the way.

Consider ways you can make yourself happy in your life. This means doing things that feel good not just in the current moment, but even when you step back and consider the wisdom of your actions. It includes momentary pleasures, such as enjoying dinner with a close friend. It also includes more value-based ventures, such as choosing a career path that is meaningful for you or committing yourself to working hard as way to take care of your family.

Be honest with yourself – especially when it is most difficult. Only when you are honest with yourself about what you think and feel in difficult situations can you act with integrity – truly feeling good about yourself.

Then be honest with those you love and who have earned your trust – especially when it is most difficult. Understanding yourself is important, but opening yourself to others is essential in filling your empty heart. 

Trust that they will love you no matter what – especially when you are most vulnerable. This will undoubtably take a lot of courage because you risk getting hurt.

If they don’t accept and love you, then they are not the right people to turn to. This is essential to remember. You will sometimes make mistakes with who you trust, or with how much you trust someone. So, it often helps to open up a little at a time, allowing yourself to test the relationship in a healthy way. 

Move on. This can be harder than it sounds, especially if you already feel connected. But letting go of hurtful relationships is essential in filling your life with healthy ones.

Trust again in those you love and who have earned your trust. When people have proven themselves to be trustworthy in the past, they are likely to be trustworthy in the future, too. Of course, people are not consistent. Some will fool you with being good friends at first, and then show their “true colors” later. Others will be good, but flawed, friends who make mistakes along the way. They may be worth forgiving. So, again, take your time in developing relationships, learning who and how much to trust based on experiences along the way.

When they continue to act lovingly toward you – even during difficult times – then you have found true love… whether they be family, friends, or eventually your forever partner. These people are the greatest treasures you will ever have in life, so treat them with great care.

Use these steps as guidelines for how to develop relationships. When you follow them, you will find that you are surrounding yourself with supportive and loving people who fill the emptiness of your heart with a sense of connection.

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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