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What are You Really Lacking in Life?

Emptiness | MagazineIncessant slamming of cabinet doors, bickering, and, more often than not, complaining takes place in the kitchen.

Wait, those things take place everywhere, right? People will always find something to complain about. It’s not just my situation where this incessant scrambling about and arguments occur. I’m not unique in that when I find myself crowded in a small space, full of empty bellies, a sense of panic fills the air.

You’d think those people, whose olfactory senses are illuminated like an L.E.D. light bulb from the smell of bacon in the morning, would understand their bellies will not go deprived much longer.

In fact, most of the time we’re not even hungry when we wake; rather, we’re thirsty. Our bodies can go days on end without food and see no loss of mental cognition. However, if you were to restrict someone from drinking water they’d shrivel up like a dehydrated grape. Our bodies must have water the same way our mind must go on thinking that there is purpose for us to live. That’s where our hunger comes from. True hunger kicks in when our bodies are begging for the calories. However, there is also a false hunger that kicks in when we imagine that food will bring us happiness. Like the raisin, we shrivel up when we think that we’re being deprived even if we are not physically deprived.

When we take away certain things from our life there is an initial feeling of deprivation. Have you ever been on a diet or know someone that’s been on a diet where certain food groups are eliminated? It makes them want that food even more, not because they physically need it, but because they feel that they can’t or aren’t supposed to have it.

A lack of water can cause our body to begin to shut down its functioning and fail to work properly. The lack of love, like the lack of water, can dry our souls of empathy and affection for others and ourselves.

How did I get to this point? Somewhere the kitchen and the slamming of cabinets took us through the and of Oz into a conversation of things we may lack in our lives. Is it this lack of things, whether we recognize it or not, that causes us to respond to life the way we do?

It’s my belief that a lack of things, mental or physical, our own deception or reality, is what causes much of our problems.

A lack of money can drive a woman to reveal skin she normally wouldn’t as she walks down the street in high heeled, black leather, boots. The same lack of money can drive a man away from his family and strap all his hours into working. The same ideal of lack, lack of having a pleasing body, drives both men and women to go on insane diets where they might malnourish themselves for days, weeks, months, even years, striving to achieve a body they are happy with. A lack of willpower, or the desire to change, can lead to one becoming so comfortable with their lives that the pint of ice cream or mountains of popcorn they meet on a nightly basis to cause their heart to give up on them before they have a chance at fighting it.

Where does this idea of “lack” come from though? What makes us think that we lack anything? Drawing images in our head of what another’s life is like can cause us to compare their life to our own. It’s important for us to become aware that suffering is not something that only the poor, poor in love, wealth, or health, experience.

If you are human, you suffer.

I suffered this morning as I listened to two adults, of whom I inherited my genes from, argue over the stove and who began cooking first.

Suffering is not unique, it’s universal. You’re not alone. Lacking is a state almost everybody encounters. But the question you must ask yourself is this – “What am I really lacking?”  If you dig deep and be honest to yourself, you may just find that what you really lack is not what you thought you were lacking. Once you’ve identified it, ask yourself whether there really is a need to fill the gap, or if indeed this lack gives you a special something that you can use to your advantage.

Jarred Dwain
Author, future law, student of stoic philosophy and philanthropy.

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