We fill ourselves with food. Food that we don’t savor. Food that we barely even taste. We fill ourselves with alcohol. Too much alcohol. Parties. Endless gatherings and events. People who are critical, maybe even cruel.

We fill ourselves with new clothes, new shoes, new trinkets, meaningless objects we don’t need or even enjoy.

And yet we still feel empty. Hollow. Depleted. Under-nourished. Maybe even starving or gasping for air.

Margarita TartakovskyMargarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.

Editor: Nadeem Noor

In the book Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life author Glennon Doyle Melton talks about filling herself with the wrong things. For her that was namely bulimia and alcohol. She writes:

“Bulimia made me feel comfortable because when I was in the midst of a binge, I lost consciousness of my discomfort and emptiness. When the purge was over, though, I lay exhausted on the bathroom floor, my hole felt even bigger. That’s how you can tell that you’re filling yourself with the wrong things. You use a lot of energy, and in the end, you feel emptier and less comfortable than ever.”

Are you filling yourself with the wrong things?

These wrong things might be anything from habits you’re engaging in that aren’t supporting you to toxic people you’re letting into your life. It might be the way you’re using a seemingly healthy activity. Maybe you’re exercising too much. Too intensely. Too often. Without much, if any, rest. Maybe you’ve thrown yourself into a new project to escape a great pain. You’re working all hours of the day. With little sleep and little food. With little regard for yourself and your well-being.

Are you struggling with a sharp kind of sadness and trying to fill the emptiness, the hole, with bowls and bowls of ice cream and late-night TV?

Are you struggling with grief and trying to fill it by never being alone? By never being home with your heartache?

Are you struggling with anger and trying to erase the rage by isolating yourself from the people who actually deeply care about you?

Are you feeling uncomfortable in your own skin and trying to ease the unease by counting calories and clutching your scale?

Take a few moments to reflect on the things you’re turning to right now. Or the things you turn to when you’re upset, angry, disillusioned, demoralized.

Are you filling yourself with the wrong things?

If you are, please don’t use this as yet another reason to berate or judge yourself. You’re doing the best you can. You’re trying to cope with the pain. But before you know it, fully know it, your habits, your actions become destructive. (Plus, bulimia, substance abuse and depression are all illnesses, which you can’t help, which require treatment. Thankfully, while you can’t choose your symptoms or snap out of them, you can choose to seek professional support.)

Use the information you learn to change course. To start filling yourself with the right things at the right time. Therapy. Good friends. Heart-to-heart conversations. Gentle yoga. Kindness. Journaling. Nature. Faith.

Today, Melton, who’s since recovered from bulimia and alcoholism, fills her emptiness with “writing, reading, water, walks, forgiving myself every other minute, practicing easy yoga, taking deep breaths, and petting my dogs.”

Filling ourselves with the right things is a process. It is not an easy one. But it is gradual. And it adds up. It is one day. One moment. One step. One choice. One breath.

Do you feel empty? Is there a hole in your heart, your soul? How are you navigating this emptiness right now? When you think about it, really think about it, what are the right things to fill you? How can you get the support you need? Because “We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”

Courtesy: PsychCentral

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