What is Driving Your Life Decisions? Is it YOU or Your Empty Places?

I used to call American Idol, “American Therapist,” especially in its early days.

Week in and week out, we would watch hundreds of kids pour their hearts out on stage, so many unaware that they had no talent, completely void of musical ability. I used to hate that the show allowed these people on, knowing all well they would fail and the whole world would be watching.

These kids were not living in current reality, because if they were, they would not be trying out for a singing competition and they would realize they did not have enough talent to even be there.

What was driving them? Why were some so emphatic that they could not see the reality of how poorly they sang?

They were driven by something so STRONG that it clouded their sense of who they actually were and what abilities they possessed.

These kids were desperate for fame, but what they didn’t know was that fame wasn’t what they really wanted. They saw fame as a quick fix to something way deeper than an AI stage and a music career could provide.

If fame was what they really wanted, we wouldn’t have so many celebrities and famous people on drugs, lonely and depressed. Even if these desperate would-be singers somehow made it to the big time, the “euphoria” would be temporary and they would soon find themselves in exactly the same place they were before they were famous…empty and needing their next quick fix.

This is my 2nd post in my Life and Greatness blog series. What does any of this have to do with greatness? I am writing these posts so we can help each other and also realize that we are all the same, we all struggle and we all want to be great. And the more we can shed our hard exteriors, be self- and people-accepting and look deep within, the more we can not only help ourselves live happier, more fulfilled lives, but we can also help each other do the same.

Are we like those America Idol contestants?

We’ve laughed at our TV screens at these fame-seeking contestants but even though we may never humiliate ourselves in front of 20 million people, we may be more like these people than you think.

Have you ever entered a relationship that felt so good, until one day everything fizzled out and you realize you made a grave mistake?

Have you ever had an addiction that you couldn’t stop whether it was something as serious as drugs or maybe even food, shopping, or pleasing people?

Are you driven by a need to be accepted?

What have you done in your life to “quick fix” and fill these insatiable desires?

We all have them. They’re our quick fixes to fill what I like to call our “empty places” and I honestly don’t think we will ever fill all of them in our lifetime, even if we tried.

The trick is to just KNOW they are there and be aware. This way, you will have more control over what is driving your life decisions and as a result, your decisions will be based on pure desire and not a need to fill a never-ending empty place.

I see these empty places as mental and emotional crevices, some brought on by us and some brought on by others, but regardless, they are empty and if we aren’t aware of their existence, we can spend our lives trying to fill them with things we MUST have instead of what we authentically want. But this need-based gratification is only temporary. And not being aware of it will cause us to make poor decisions we will likely regret.

The truth is, those holes can never be filled with quick fixes. The only thing that fills them is love and acceptance, and this is often accompanied by feeling and facing the pain that created them in the first place. But, that’s another story for another time. 🙂

Lack of Self-Awareness = Poor Decision-Making

A lack of self-awareness over where these empty places are lurking can result in us making terrible decisions, ones we may regret for a lifetime.

Whether in business, relationships, or any other facet of our lives, it’s important we understand ourselves at this deep level so we can better navigate through life and make decisions that positively affect us and the people we love.

The good news is that there is something we can do about these empty places. We can be more aware of them and start taking a look at what is driving us when we make decisions.

Many of us make life decisions on autopilot without thinking through what is actually driving them.

                                                                                  What are you really looking for?

I’m not referring to whether or not you are a planner and you think through the decision beforehand. I mean that if you aren’t aware of these empty places, you will unknowingly be driven by their desire to be filled, and all the planning in the world won’t help because you may be addressing the decision with a warped perception.

But, if you stop long enough to think about what you are feeling and how it may or may not be tied to your empty places, and assess the situation from a more ascended perspective, you can put yourself in the driver’s seat and no longer be subject to whims and dysfunctional desires. This leads to making decisions that will enrich your life and not extract from it.

How do you know if you are making decisions from your empty places? Unfortunately, there is no quick answer to this. I wish there were some cool device or app that would give us a quick reading whenever we are making decisions.

Here are some key points to consider:

There is a huge difference between needing something and wanting something, and these two things will feel different. One feels more like an urge (need) and the other more like a desire (want).

Whenever you NEED something badly, that is a cue to stop and take a step back and look at what is going on more closely instead of pulling the trigger. This could indicate an empty place.

Becoming aware of these empty places is something you will need to discover on your own. If you are somewhat self-aware, you may know them already. If not, start by examining every decision you made that resulted in a less-than-positive outcome. Why did it end badly? What were you feeling that drove you to make that decision? Next, consult with people you trust and ask them their opinions. Getting someone objective involved is also helpful.

If you ever get what you think you want, yet after some time you still end up lonely and feeling empty inside, that wasn’t what you really wanted or needed. That was most likely an empty place and you made a decision from this deficit.

What drives your life decisions? Are you even aware of the driving forces?

You want to be aware of as many empty places as you can. If you are, when you go to make a big decision, you will be able to step back objectively and look at what could be driving you.

For me, I go to counseling and I also bounce things off my husband and other people I trust. An objective perspective is like gold. Here are some other things I consider before making substantial decisions:

Do you feel like all of your problems will be solved if you just get your hands on what you are desiring? Or that you will finally be happy once you get the result you are pining for?

If so, you may be driven from an empty place. When we are filling our empty places, we are looking for that quick fix, that thing that will make us happy so we don’t have to look at those holes too deeply and feel the pain of what could be inside them. If your decision feels like it will be the answer to everything that ails you, this could signify an empty place. It may be time to stop and look at what you are really wanting more closely.

Do you NEED it? Or do you WANT it?

The two feel starkly different. If you can get by without having it, but you desire it because you feel it will enrich your life, then it’s probably okay. But, if you feel like what you desire is more like an addiction and something you have to get your hands on, that may be an indication that you need to take a closer look before you make any more decisions around it.

Here is what I do with decision-making.

If I feel like there is something I NEED, I step back and see if I can figure out what it is that is driving me before I make any more moves.

Am I avoiding pain? If so, I need to stop and reflect.

Because this isn’t my first time at this rodeo, when I get like this, I seek out help before making any decisions. I see these instances as life telling me I need to dig deeper and check out that empty place and get more clarity, re-visit the pain if need be. With the help of trusted friends and family members or my counselor, I can get to a place where I see what I was resisting, and clarity comes. At that point, I can better assess what it is I want to do.

Nine times out of 10, I don’t end up taking the road I originally thought was right because that empty place gets filled with love and acceptance and I see things from a different perspective. It’s interesting when you look back at your life from a different perspective after you patch up some holes. Things can look completely different.

The Bible says, “There is wisdom in a multitude of counsel.”

I like this passage because it’s helped me choose wisely. I’m the type of person that struggles with wanting to be in control. I don’t like to ask for help because it makes me feel weak. I know now after talking to people about my struggles, that this is not accurate and reaching out for help is a sign of strength. Because of my awareness of my empty place, I practice working on this and now when I go to make decisions, I can better assess where my perspective is. This gives me the power to make better decisions.

Don’t neglect the trusted people in your life. Be open to new perspectives.

We all have these empty places; no one is immune. We live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people. But, the great thing is that we do not have to be slaves to our empty-place urges and impulses. Just being aware of what they are and when they are firing gives you more control over your decisions and therefore more control over a much brighter, more fulfilled future.

Have you ever considered your empty places when making decisions? If you have any other perspective on this, I’d love to hear it!


Owner at Lady Content
Jenna is the owner of Lady Content, a unique content creation company. Lady Content services B2B companies around the world, ensuring their online presence exceeds their company goals and positively impacts the audiences they serve.

Leave a Reply

Skype: jenna.scaglione
Website: http://ladycontent.com
Email: jenna@ladycontent.com