So, instead of going to heaven, at last–
I’m going, all along. ~ Emily Dickinson
We frequently attempt to prove our value to ourselves and to others through external accomplishments. We may get college degrees, lose weight or work eighty-hour weeks. We do this in order to make the emptiness go away or from a mistaken belief that it will result in happiness. But we get only fleeting glimpses of joy this way; the emptiness remains. Our real goal has been love and fulfillment.
Action is necessary, but not sufficient, to fill the emptiness. Doing and accomplishing things does not create happiness. This will come only with love and meaning. The absence of love is toxic and debilitating. It can however, be learned. Yes, it is better to give than to receive, but the experience of receiving is an essential foundation of life. By receiving love we learn to value ourselves. Self-love, then, is the seed for love of others and the prime ingredient that fills the emptiness. Only with the confidence of love are we able to embrace the possibility of joy and fulfillment.
Fulfillment does not come with the achievement of goals; it is not a finite end but an ongoing process. It is the result of living in the present moment rather than in the illusion that some future event will result in happiness. The accomplishment of goals brings feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, but they are temporary and we soon revert to the same general state of emptiness or happiness in which we lived before the event. Goals are good as long as they are in accord with our true desires, a part of a meaningful life rather than an end.
Be true to yourself; identify that which is most significant to you and nurture it. Live your life with gratitude, enthusiasm, and a giving heart. Be fearless; know that both pain and pleasure are essential facets of life, not to be shunned. Accept them equally, but do not obsess with either. Surely, the emptiness will vanish, happiness will be yours.
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
Moving From Emptiness to Happiness © 2009
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.