Book That I Pick Up When I Feel Empty, Void & Existential Crisis

I believe you come here because you also feel the same with me – feeling of an inner void inside. Which for real is terribly painful right? It feels like no matter what you do – work, activities, hang out with friends, worships, it’s still there. Kinda you can’t escape from it. 

I know I experiencing emptiness, void or probably can say an existential crisis when I do some research about it. 

I want to know what is going on while my outer world – work, passion, money, rizq and friends are great. To be honest, I have nothing to complain about. Yet, my inner world or my mental health is chaotic. I even notice I’m losing my faith. 

Thus, I want to share it here. As whoever going through this phase, you know that you are not alone. 

Okay to put it simply…

Emptiness or Void =  You feel a complete absence of joy, hope or satisfaction. Nothing makes sense anymore and everything feels meaningless – including all of your old accomplishments, desires, professional attachments, relationships and goals.

While an existential crisis is a period in life where a person is at a crossroads and is questioning their entire reality. They may wonder what the meaning of their life is and whether they have a higher purpose. As a result, they may suffer the feeling of being lost.

What Are The Signs You Experience Emptiness, Void & Existential Crisis?

  1. Feeling hollow inside.
  2. Feel alone and isolated.
  3. Struggling to thrive your day. 
  4. Emotional numbness.
  5. You’re searching for the meaning of life.
  6. The absence of true happiness or fulfilment.
  7. Addictive behaviour (to escape the emptiness).
  8. Inability to slow down/workaholism (as a form of escape).
  9. You feel like your ‘old life’ has withered away.
  10. You don’t know who you are anymore.
  11. Your past accomplishments seem meaningless.
  12. Crave something deep and meaningful.
  13.  Realize the world is far more complex than you thought.
  14.  Feel a sense of powerlessness in the face of everything.
  15. Feel like there’s something ‘wrong’ or ‘broken’ about you.
  16. Keep searching for something outside for you to put inside.
  17. Hunger for inner peace. 
  18.  Loss of religious beliefs. 

I don’t know about you, but for me, I experience almost all of them. Crazy right? That’s why it leads me towards a beautiful note from Yasmin Mogahed (an amazing scholar, speaker and writer) about  “Why Am I Empty?” 

“You are always told that if you are believers, then you should never feel a sense of emptiness within you. But haven’t we all at some stage felt empty in our hearts despite being believers?

Every human being has a hole of some sort. Because we have been separated from our originator, our home. We’re not with Allah in the physical sense. So, every human being is born with this sense of emptiness. 

The real question should therefore not be why do I feel empty but how do I fill this hole, a sense of emptiness?”

Reading this makes me feel “hey, there’s nothing wrong with me. It just that I have a button of high awareness to feel this way. It might be an awakening for me.”

How To Get Through & Benefit From Them?

Okay, as I’m writing this, I’m learning how to reconcile it. Therefore, I pick this book – I Lost My Way: Finding Happiness After Despair by Yasmin Mogahed.

Here are what I get from it. 

#1 – Change Your Perspectives

People go through stuff a lot. And they can be very, very difficult. However, Allah SWT promises us in the Quran; Allah doesn’t burden any human being beyond what they can bear. So, what does that mean?

It means that yes, there is difficulty. Yes, there are challenges. This life has tests. Absolutely. But at the same time, we have a promise from our Lord that those difficulties and struggle were never meant to destroy us. 

Allah never gives a believer any challenge that is meant to destroy them. Allah only gives believers challenges to strengthen and purify them, always for their good. This concept is so important to internalize. 

#2 – Build Hope

When a person falls into despair or becomes numb, he or she will be demotivated to strive. You just want to give up when you experience them. Thus, stop focusing on yourself and whatever went wrong. 

Focus on Allah’s mercy, who is greater than everything.

No matter how many sins you have committed, no matter how many mistakes you have made, no matter how many times you feel empty, void and experience existential crisis, Allah’s mercy is still greater. 

Have hope that Allah has forgiven you. That Allah will get you better. That Allah has your back. That Allah is always there and near you. Allah is At-Tawwab, Al-’Afuw, Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem. He pardons, He forgives, He has mercy and He erases. 

#3 – Do What It Takes (Internal & External)

Think about Musa AS. When he was standing in front of the sea and he had an army behind him and at this point, he was trapped. There was no way out form him. And it was Pharaoh behind him, the worst tyrant walked the earth. 

Pharaoh was coming behind Musa AS and some slaves. There is a body of water in front of them. They were stuck. They were in a situation that looked totally impossible. Bani Israel themselves were feeling that way. “We will be overtaken.”

But look as Musa’s optimist opinion of Allah. He said, “No. Absolutely not. Indeed my Lord is with me and He will get me through this.” That was his response. And look at what happened. Allah got him through by splitting the sea. 

However, there were things Musa AS had to do first. In the heart, he had a good opinion of Allah. He did not doubt that Allah had his back. The first part was internally. Then, the second part was the action that he had to take. 

What we have to do to reconcile our challenges. Something to change our condition. Externally as well. Like it can be removing our attachments of the world and remember Allah in our daily life. 

Conclusion

We all know that our life goes up and down. What you’re experiencing isn’t going to last forever.  Some days are good, some days are bad. It is never going to ever be constant or remain. Except for God, Allah SWT. 

Just like a random person write this and I happen to read it, so I should share it with you too. Remember, the process you’re going through actually is valuable. What you’re experiencing has a purpose.

“Even that emptiness itself was created for a purpose: To drive us to fill it. The problem is we try to fill it with the wrong things. Everything inside us was created to enable our journey to find the true fill, to find Him. The only shelter is in Allah. It’s like sending a storm to push us to the only refuge. To push us to Him.”

Yasmin mogahed
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