If you recognize these 7 feelings, you’re searching for more meaning in life

by Isabel Cabrera | December 25, 2023, 11:51 pm

Have you ever felt like something’s missing, even when everything seems okay on the surface? A few years ago, that was me.

I had a decent job, good friends, and yet, I couldn’t shake off a nagging feeling of emptiness. 

I didn’t understand it then, but looking back, it’s clear I was searching for more meaning in life. 

Just recently, I recognized these same feelings in a close friend, and it hit me — there are telltale signs that you’re on a quest for something deeper. 

So, here they are: if you recognize these 7 feelings, you’re not alone, you’re just seeking more out of life.

1) Restlessness

Restlessness is like an itch you can’t quite scratch, right? 

A couple of years ago, I’d find myself pacing around my apartment, aimlessly scrolling through my phone, or jumping from one task to another without really accomplishing anything. 

I was always doing something, yet it felt like I was doing nothing meaningful at all.

I saw this again in my friend when we hung out last week. We were at a cozy café, each sipping our favorite latte, but he seemed distracted, constantly checking his watch or gazing out the window. It was as if he were physically there but mentally miles away.

Restlessness can be a real nuisance, but it’s also a signal from your soul, nudging you to pay attention. 

It’s as if your inner self is saying, “Hey, this isn’t what we signed up for; let’s find something that truly matters.” 

The good news is, recognizing your restlessness is the first step to finding more meaning in your life. So don’t ignore it — listen to it.

2) Feeling stuck

Feeling stuck is like being in quicksand; the more you struggle, the deeper you sink. I remember waking up each day a few years back, dreading the routine I had to go through. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. 

Even on weekends, when I was free to do what I liked, that feeling of being trapped never really left me. I knew I had more to offer the world; I just didn’t know how to break free.

Fast forward to my recent chat with my friend. She described her life as a loop she couldn’t escape — which felt like a huge deja vu to me. 

She was stuck in a job she didn’t enjoy, maintaining relationships that drained her, and worst of all, she felt powerless to change any of it. 

The thing about feeling stuck is that it’s a sign you’re yearning for growth, for something beyond your current circumstances. It’s your inner voice shouting, “You can do better, and you know it!” 

Seeing it for the cry for change that it is is the first step toward creating a life that holds more meaning for you.

3) Emotional rollercoaster

Remember the ups and downs of a rollercoaster? One moment, you’re on top of the world; the next, you’re plummeting into an abyss. 

That’s what my emotional life used to be like a few years ago. Some days I felt like I could conquer the world; other days, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. 

And the worst part? I didn’t really know why.

Just the other day, my friend mentioned how she can go from feeling invincible to utterly defeated in the span of an hour. She talked about her high highs and her low lows, and I recognized those feelings all too well.

This emotional volatility is not just “mood swings.” It’s an indication that you’re seeking balance, that your life is missing an anchor of meaning to steady the ship. 

You’re not “too emotional” or “overreacting”; you’re experiencing a range of feelings because you’re in the process of figuring out what truly matters. 

So if your emotions are all over the place, it might just be your soul’s way of saying, “Let’s find something to be consistently happy about.”

4) Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Ah, FOMO — the acronym that has become a part of our modern vocabulary. Back in the day, I was the poster child for it. 

Scrolling through social media, I’d see friends at an exotic beach, colleagues getting promotions, or people simply having a good time without me. 

Each photo or update would tug at me, making me wonder if my life was uneventful or just plain boring.

My friend echoed this sentiment when we talked. She described how she feels overwhelmed with options and worried about making the wrong choices. What if she misses out on the job of a lifetime, or the perfect relationship, or a transformative experience?

FOMO isn’t just about wanting to be everywhere and do everything. It’s a sign that you’re looking for something more — a purpose or passion that you haven’t yet discovered. 

And when you do find something that truly gives your life meaning, the fear of missing out on other things lessens. 

Why? Because you’ve found something that fills you, something that’s worth missing out on other things for. 

5) Existential curiosity

Questions like “Why am I here?” or “What’s my purpose?” used to haunt me. I’d lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling, pondering the big, unanswerable questions of existence. 

My friend, too, told me that even when she’s busy or having fun, there’s a part of her always asking, “Is this all there is? Is there more to life than this?” 

She said it’s like a background hum that never really goes away.

Existential curiosity isn’t just navel-gazing or philosophical musing. It’s a sign that you’re searching for more depth, more meaning in your life. 

More than that, it’s a call to action. It’s your inner self urging you to dig deeper, to look beyond the surface and find a purpose or mission that truly resonates with you. 

If these questions are on your mind, don’t just bat them away, but take them seriously. Your soul is nudging you to explore, to seek, and ultimately, to find your true calling.

6) A desire for deeper connections

There was a time when my social life seemed full, yet it felt strangely empty. I had friends, sure, but our conversations often skimmed the surface — talking about the weather, work, or weekend plans. 

It was nice, but it didn’t satisfy me. I craved something deeper, more meaningful.

My friend feels the same way right now. She told me about her circles of friends and acquaintances and how they’ll hang out, have fun, but rarely touch on anything personal or emotional. “It’s like I’m surrounded by people but still feel alone,” she confessed.

When you’re in search of more meaning, surface-level interactions won’t cut it anymore. You yearn for conversations that dive deep, for friendships that go beyond the superficial. 

This is a signal, loud and clear, that you’re on a quest for more substantive connections, ones that feed your soul and make you feel truly seen and heard.

Take this feeling as an encouragement to seek out people who resonate with you on a deeper level. Sometimes the quest for meaning starts with finding your tribe — the people who get you, support you, and inspire you to be your best self.

7) A sense of urgency

I remember the clock always ticking in the back of my mind, a constant reminder that time was slipping through my fingers. 

I had this feeling that I needed to hurry up and find my purpose, make a difference, or do something extraordinary — before it was too late. The word “now” echoed in my thoughts like a drumbeat I couldn’t silence.

My friend confessed she’s experiencing something similar: “I feel rushed, even when there’s no deadline or reason to be.”

Feeling this sense of urgency can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it spurs you into action, motivating you to chase after a life filled with meaning. 

On the other hand, it can induce stress and anxiety, as if you’re always racing against an invisible clock. 

But here’s the thing I wish I knew back then and what I told my friend: It’s okay to slow down. You don’t have to have it all figured out right this moment. 

Meaningful lives aren’t built overnight; they’re crafted over years, even decades. Things take time to unfold, and that’s okay. 

Trust the process and give yourself permission to breathe. You still have time.

The road ahead

A few years ago, I was navigating through all these feelings, from restlessness to a sense of urgency.

 But trust me when I say, it gets clearer as you move forward. 

I recognized those same sentiments recently when I spoke with my friend who is in the thick of this quest. It reminded me of how far I’ve come, and how much farther we all can go.

If you’ve been feeling these things, it’s a sign that you’re ready for deeper, more meaningful experiences. 

You’re not alone; so many of us have been or are currently where you are. 

And while it’s tempting to want all the answers now, remember that life unfolds in its own time. You don’t need to rush. You don’t need to have all the answers today. 

What you do need is to listen to yourself, to acknowledge these feelings as signposts guiding you toward the life you desire.

Take heart in knowing that this restless search for meaning is actually the path to finding it. Embrace the journey, and allow yourself the grace to grow, learn, and eventually, arrive.

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