Learning, Earning, and Yearning

Learning, Earning, and Yearning

By Caroline Schumsky, LCSW, MS

Something’s missing, but I just can’t figure out exactly what it is. Sure, you can stay plugged into your phone all day, stay as busy as you possibly can, but that will surely not help you figure out why you feel so empty and heartsick at times. Some of us sustain ourselves on a diet of longing our entire lives, yet somehow we still feel starved. But for what, pray tell?

Sadly, as long as we continue to believe that our healing and worth come from outside of ourselves, we will come up short. Craving for something you lost or perhaps something you never had. Sometimes the desire itself stings, but not nearly as painful as the vulnerability that is hiding beneath it.

“If only…if only…” Longing is not the same as loving. What do you yearn for? Emotional needs and soul cravings are not the same as simple “wants.” How will you know? Well, for starters: Do you feel deep disappointment or even heartache if that desire is not fulfilled? At times, we work so very hard to fulfill our dreams, and when they do not come to pass, we can feel bitter or even betrayed.

Intense longing is really a hunger for a piece of ourselves that is missing. What goes on within us can’t help but show up in our outer world. When you do find “true love,” oftentimes the love and inner peace you find inside is reflected right back to you. Because truth be told, we cannot rely on something external to fill an internal ache. What do you itch for, long for, and pine for? More and more money? Sure, money talks, right? But all mine ever says is goodbye. Heh. Perhaps you think Good Food = Good Mood. Or maybe you’re in the mood for a hug and 87 chicken nuggets. You know what they say, don’t ya? Chocolate is to women what duct tape is to men: It fixes everything. Okay, maybe not everything… However, a compulsive craving for something, while it may distract us, can prevent us from finding the intimacy we truly deserve. Not to mention that “retail therapy” is not covered by your insurance.

Self-worth is not something you earn and is most certainly not conferred upon you by someone else. You are worthy, period. If you are stuck on that tricky treadmill of disputing and doubting your worthiness, you may spend your days trying to get approval from your boss, or dying for love from one who never seems to offer anything but their emotional scraps. Profound emptiness and frustration quickly become your new companions.

Please do not disempower yourselves, sweet friends. How, you ask? Start by becoming more aware of the thoughts that fuel your wishful thinking for things you do not have. Here’s a handy dandy hint:

If Only… Spells Lonely.

How often do you find yourself thinking: Dang, my life would be awesome “if only”… I had a boyfriend, a new car, house, or that perfect job my best friend has. Feel free to fill in the dream or desire. Remind yourself gently that unlike the perfection in your fantasy, jobs can be more challenging than they may appear, and love can be a heckofalot messier than it seems to others.

We acutely miss something we never even had – making up an imagined life in our heads of things or people that we “could” have had. The problem, sweet friends, is that the version of life we build in our minds is nothing like the real thing. The “perfect” love never truly lives up to all our expectations. Know that when you aim for perfection, it’s a moving target.

Try giving yourself a heaping dose of the compassion you so desperately crave, and permit yourself to receive it when it does come a knockin’ at your front door. Create a purpose for yourself. Your life will only have meaning if you give it one. Remember to see a distinction between yourself and the thing you desire. Unquenchable clinging and craving causes chaos, not contentment. Nothing is more misdiagnosed than our longing for meaning, or as some say: our homesickness for Heaven.

We may thirst for alcohol, a raise, a doctorate, a new condo, or a large-screen TV, but what we are really at a loss for is transcendence. We are spiritually starved. Is that a bad thing? Heck no. It means that you still have life left in you. The dead do not eat. We need not deny, ignore, nor get rid of our desires. On the contrary, eat and drink to your heart’s content. Just make sure you are feeding your soul.

And please don’t forget to spread the wealth. Ask yourself before you go to bed tonight: Is there a little more love in the world today because of my actions?

 As always, feel free to share with me anytime. I am right here.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at Safehavenhealing@gmail.com or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.