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Why Do I Feel Empty Inside?, I Did All The Right Things!
Ask Dr. Rue

Why Do I Feel Empty Inside?, I Did All The Right Things! 

I’ve been trying to figure out what’s missing. I’m working in a notable profession, I live in a really nice place, and I was recently able to purchase my dream car. I spent so many years doing my best in school and participating in extracurriculars. I did all the things you’re told as a kid that you’re supposed to do.

So why am I here, in my mid-twenties I feel empty inside? I can’t even talk to anyone else about these weird feelings I’m having, because every time I even hint at some kind of life dissatisfaction, all I hear is “you don’t have anything to be sad about” or “anyone would kill to have your life”. It’s really frustrating.

Frustrated In New York

Hi Queen! Firstly, congratulations on your accomplishments! I can understand how frustrating it might feel to have done all that you’ve been told is important and needed in life, yet feel empty inside and not feel excited about accomplishing it.

Is it possible that, though these were things expected or taught to be necessary, they weren’t things that you genuinely wanted for yourself?

Everyone’s level of fulfillment is different and there is nothing wrong with that. However, is it that you believed through achieving these things you’d find happiness? It’s possible, in either case, to lose one’s self while completing the ‘expected’ rather than working towards finding an inner fulfillment.

Let’s throw a scenario out there: If money weren’t a factor, if no one would judge, if no one would be disappointed in you, if no one would stop or hold you back, and you could be anywhere, doing anything, with anyone, where would you be? What would you be doing? Would it still be what you’re doing right now?

Doing All The Things

You mentioned you spent most of your time in school and engaged in extra-curricular activities, did you enjoy them? Did you ever truly get to experience life outside of school-related things or achievement-driven things?

Were you overbooked as a child? Was everything planned out for you, or did you have a say in any of it? Did you have a talent or something you’ve always wanted to try but never did?

Ask yourself these things, but dig deeper. It’s helpful to explore where you fit in all of this. You’ve accomplished amazing things, yes! But there may be more or something else completely different that you need to do for YOU now.

Immerse yourself in new hobbies, explore, travel and help activate things in yourself that you may have never had the luxury of doing before. Now that your ‘expected’ life path has had a chance to live, it is now time for you to THRIVE.

Remember, you don’t have to dance to anyone else’s drum. You are able to create your own beat!

Dr. Rue | 3.29.19


Ask Dr. Rue is a weekly, anonymous advice column where your most vulnerable mental health + emotional wellness concerns are addressed. Do you have a question to ask or a situation to present, and wondering what Dr. Rue might have to say? Ask Dr. Rue here

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