That Nagging Empty Feeling Means It’s Time For a Change

But not the kind of change you might think.

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Every month or so, I feel like existential crap.

I know in those moments that something has to change.

I used to believe that “something” was a life circumstance — like my relationship, career, or body.

I’ve always been good at making such changes. Here are some things I’ve done in the past to address my existential crapness:

  • broken up with boyfriends
  • switched majors
  • quit sports, instruments, dance, jobs
  • gone to therapy
  • read self-help books
  • committed to diets and exercise regimens
  • learned to meditate
  • self-medicated with alcohol
  • started projects
  • stopped projects
  • founded organizations
  • ghosted friends
  • moved to new cities

The results were inconsistent. Sometimes I felt better, and sometimes nothing changed.

What gives?

It took me years to see that I was looking in the wrong direction.

That nagging empty feeling was indeed telling me something had to change. But it wasn’t my career, relationships, body, or even my brain chemistry that needed changing.

It was me. Specifically, it was my mistaken belief that I was anything less than whole, okay, or perfect.

Now, I’m not saying that some of those life changes weren’t good ones to make. I’m not advocating for staying with partners you know you want to leave or stopping medications you know are helping you. When we know we need to make changes like that, we just know. But that kind of knowing never comes from a nagging empty feeling—it comes to us with a feeling of clarity, simplicity, or inspiration.

The nagging empty feeling I’m talking about is a call for growth, and true growth begins before even our brain chemistry, or our thought patterns. Growth begins and ends with waking up to our true nature — our spirit, our soul, our connection to the infinite, our beginner’s mind — that something-nothingness from which we all spring forth.

Nowadays, when I’m feeling low, I know it’s time to grow.

I look in the direction of my innate sense of peace, joy, connection, and timelessness.

I look there — however that looking manifests in that moment — and that’s where I find real change. The change that reminds me there’s truly nothing that needs changing.


Brooke is a mentor, writer, and recovered worry wart. She helps fellow angsters get out of their heads and into their lives.