Soul Hunger: The Silent Epidemic Of The 21st Century.
Soul hunger is a term I use to describe a deep longing or emptiness that people may feel within themselves. It often manifests as a sense of dissatisfaction, lack of purpose, or a yearning for something more meaningful in life.
Soul hunger arises when there is a gap between how we’re living our lives and what our soul intended for us.
I experienced this soul hunger long before I could understand what it was trying to tell me.
I had the privilege of interviewing some amazing women for my book: Awakening A Woman’s Soul: The Power of Meditation and Mindfulness to Transform Your Life. As I listened and transcribed their stories, I saw patterns emerge.
There was a common thread that existed between their stories and my own. There was a sense that they were hungry for something. A feeling that something was missing in their life.
What was the source of this hunger I’d heard repeatedly in these interviews?
A few days later, it came to me in the shower as I was conditioning my hair: It was soul hunger!!!
It explained what so many women (and men experience this as well) had been describing to me, and it helped me make sense of what I had experienced in my life.
It was soul hunger that led me out of retirement and soul hunger that got me curious about meditation.
I understood that our souls, like our bodies, must be fed to flourish and thrive.
I also believe that soul hunger is a silent epidemic in our society. Many of us experience it, yet we have no idea what it is.
I hear people say daily that something is missing, and I have no idea what it is. I’m willing to make some changes but don’t know what to change.”
This notion of trying to hit a dartboard in the dark reminded me of my many years working as a nurse. One of the foundational aspects of providing excellent care to clients was and continues to be the nursing process. The process includes assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing, and evaluating care and services.
The challenge with soul hunger is that its signs and symptoms are so vague it is often misdiagnosed or missed altogether.
Without the awareness of what it is, it is virtually impossible to develop a plan and implement changes to evaluate whether the soul hunger is being alleviated.
To fully describe and explore this concept of soul hunger, I decided to determine how actual physical hunger is described. I came across words such as craving, desire, longing, urge, yearning, ache, emptiness, void, thirst, vacancy, empty, lacking, and want to name just a few.
It became eerily familiar to me when I realized that these exact words were what I heard daily from people who were not experiencing physical hunger. They shared a need that was being described in the same way but wasn’t physical and was from a different source.
I was then reminded that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Meaning we are both spiritual and human. Perhaps the physical hunger that people experience can help us explain spiritual needs. Maybe those words describing how it feels to be physically hungry can help us understand when our soul is hungry.
I turned to Google to explore phrases that people used when they described a sense of physical hunger:
My energy would desert me, and weakness would take over.
I was so tired and lethargic.
My brain didn’t work correctly, and it was hard to concentrate.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
There was a nagging feeling of emptiness.
I had physical symptoms such as being irritable, dizziness, and nausea.
Then I went to my transcribed notes and found the following from a couple of women. One was in a corporate job where she was miserable, and the other woman felt disconnected from her husband of 40 years:
I felt tired all the time and would get sick with infections.
I needed a “brain restart” because it wasn’t working correctly.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.
I felt empty inside.
I had a longing for things to be different.
I was showing signs of stress.
When I compared the above descriptions, I could see the overlap.
We’ve created a society that values physical needs (and rightly so) and ignores spiritual needs.
It’s as if we’ve developed a mindset that says, “If we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” We can value and acknowledge physical hunger because there’s an actual cause, but we have greater difficulty recognizing soul hunger because the reason is not entirely apparent.
Soul hunger is an authentic experience, and just as physical hunger is a sign that we need nourishment, soul hunger is a sign that our soul needs food.
In this post, I expand on what this soul hunger is all about: The Call of Your Soul: 10 Signs Your Soul is Speaking to You.
When we neglect the non-physical parts of ourselves and our essence, we will experience this profound inner ache in our souls at some time in our journey.
This ache often manifests in physical and mental health issues, relationship troubles, and a lack of meaning and purpose. It’s an invitation to walk through the doorway of self-exploration and discovery.
It’s a beautiful reminder that we are spiritual beings having a human experience: an invitation and a call to connect with our true selves.
In the following video, I share a personal message about soul hunger: