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How I Cured My Emptiness

How I Cured My Emptiness

Reporter: You had such an incredible year, I would imagine the best of your life, right?

Me: Hmmm (I thought long and hard about the question).

Reporter: Wow, you have to think about it? Shouldn’t your answer be an automatic YES? You starred in 2 new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, released a bestselling book, became nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and also your industry’s Best Matchmaker and Relationship Coach of the year nomination!  Come on man, what more could you want?

Me: No, it actually WAS NOT the best year of my life. In fact, I wasn’t very happy this year.

Reporter: (Silence)

I learned an important lesson this year: Happiness is driven by feeding our values. It’s that simple. Don’t feed your values and I guarantee you’ll feel a substantial part of life is missing. Feed your values and you will possess a sense of fullness beyond measure.

What are values? These are our guiding principles of life. I like to call them our rule book of living. We all have values. No one has better or lesser values than anyone else. For example, my top 3 values (in priority) are: Spirituality, Family, and Creativity. What this means is that I live for these categories, they are essentially the fuel to my being. Without them I am empty.

As I reflected upon 2012, I realized despite my many blessings, I neglected feeding my top values. I spent less time practicing my faith and fellowshipping than any year in my life. I spent less time with my immediate family. I didn’t create or innovate like years before. Instead, I mostly participated in activities where I was a role player, not a role maker.

A feeling of emptiness had been weighing on me throughout the year but I felt ashamed to publicly talk about it. I mean, how foolish would it look if I tweeted a photo of myself eating dinner with Oprah and the next tweet said I’m not happy with my life right now…lol. But I’m putting an end to my front today. My strength for speaking up comes from knowing I’m not alone. Also, I’m driven by wanting to share how I was able to remove the mean mug from my face.

How did I do it? I fed my values.

Just a few weeks ago, after discovering the anorexic state of my values, I made a promise to myself that I was going to start making decisions as best as I could within the framework of my values. And when I did, it was just like I hit a rest button, and that old friend happiness came charging back! I started attending church and fellowshipping throughout the week! Adjusted my schedule to travel less and be at home the majority of the week. I started driving and picking my son up from school. Also now, on weekends there is a high likelihood friends and family will be in my living room, feet up, sipping on Red Stripe. On the creativity front, I’m currently developing a new web series as well as creating innovative projects that break the mold for my industry. Bottom line, focusing activities within my core values has helped me regain control of my state of mind.

If despite your many blessings, you still feel a sense of emptiness. I encourage you to reflect upon your life and ask yourself a simple question:

When was the last time my values were fed?

 

Posted on: Dec 19, 2012

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24 comments
Kamari Chelsea
Kamari Chelsea

Thank you for this Paul! As I'm embarking on my own journey toward becoming a coach, I find that I can quickly get so into giving that I forget to give to myself - feed myself. Appreciate this very much!

Char' Berry
Char' Berry

This is an awesome post. My feeling empty inside has led me on this amazing journey that I am on now. I'm in the midst of my journey and everything is starting to feel like it's at a standstill. I'm thinking that I've neglected my values as well and I need to take a look and see if I'm doing things in my life at the moment that will feed them. Thanks so much Paul! :)

Peace Amadi
Peace Amadi

This was too real. My ambition has taken me places and it continues to drive me. But I'd be lying if I said some of greatest achievements haven't been met with profound emptiness. Like none of it mattered. If only I'd come to this realization sooner. Like you, my relationship with God, with my favorite people, and ability to create are incredibly important to me. Their like air. I pray this awareness helps me to better balance my driveness with my values. Thank you for writing this!

Sharee McFadden
Sharee McFadden

I decided to do this just 10 minutes ago before stumbling upon this!!! Confirmation is here in this article! THank you for being transparent!!!!

Pamela Talbert
Pamela Talbert

I sure do appreciate your honesty and insight...gives me a BUNCH of insight into my "emptiness!" Thank you Paul...having wisdom trumps EVERYTHING!

Kimberly
Kimberly

Love it! I understand whole heartily.

veronica
veronica

so good! thank you sir! i was thinking this morning : what a void! no matter what i do what a void inside! and actually my values are just outside my door waiting for me to let them in. thanks a million Paul

Aviva
Aviva

Lovely post. Godspeed on your journey and thank you :)

Misherald Brown
Misherald Brown

Paul I love how no matter what medium you present your words in that it's always real life stuff as well as information that can be used by anyone. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to converse with you and I have to say that your a person who truly is emerge into his world and is secure enough to be able to vocally state your feelings without worrying about your image. KUDOS Paul.

Shani
Shani

Great read Paul! Very real as most would measure success by the things you have, I found it powerful that you recognized what truly feed your soul. Continued success Paul!!!

sherry
sherry

When we take care of other's too often we neglect to focus on our own needs, im glad you've grasped your footing again....beautiful.

Amanda Littlejohn
Amanda Littlejohn

Paul, I love this. And think it could be a whole book written in your special, engaging style. A question though - you mentioned you realized you weren't feeding your values. How (and at what point in your life) did you identify what your top values were?

Karina
Karina

Really great article. Thank you. I have had many blessings this year and still was feeling so blah. Grateful, yes but not fufilled. I need to think about what is it that makes me happy, what are my values and focus energy on that. Thank you!

Alyscia Cunningham
Alyscia Cunningham

Wow! That's deep and so on point. I applaud you for having the courage to be honest and vulnerable. I must be honest and say that I've held myself back for the past few YEARS because of the fear of what comes with success. #1 reason being, not spending as much time with my family. Over the past few months I chose to have faith and courage, write down my values and take the leap. Blocking myself was definitely not the way to go but the blessing of it all is I was able to recognize what I want before hand. Thanks for sharing Paul!

Myriam Jean
Myriam Jean

There is not a moment to waste! It is tough to try and do it all. No one can. That is why the ability to self-reflect is a gift. Sometimes it gets to be to much and we have to regain a sense of vision and priority. I am so glad to be supportive of you in that effort because I truly believe, if you can make sense within yourself ...you will bring peace and happiness to others. That can only be done with humility, integrity and self-respect first. Honoring your values allows you to better care for other. Re-evaluating is necessary. Understanding this tension between your internal and external world will keep you on your toes. --May you persevere, Myriam Jean

Leslie Jackson-Etcetera Row
Leslie Jackson-Etcetera Row

Absolutely phenomenal. Thank you for the reminder and definitely can identify with the feeling. I appreciate your candor.

BKlady
BKlady

I read this in your energy and on your face when you were in Brooklyn on your book tour. Thank you for vocally recognizing it. Both for yourself- number one. And for those who follow you. Truth not only sets us free. But it also inspires. Kudos.

dyannebrown
dyannebrown

Thank you for sharing this. It's very brave of you to admit that despite having what everyone thinks would make you happy that you still struggled. Most people won't admit that. We all seem to think that popularity and success is a cure for what ails us. The reality is that it can distract you from the things that are really important in your life. We have to understand what makes us truly happy and keep our focus on making that important in our lives. I applaud you for figuring it out early and making it a priority now. Many people learn the lesson after they lose their family while chasing after success and fame. Bravo, Paul.

Nicele
Nicele

Excellent. Excellent post! :)

Angela
Angela

Also, It's important that you make your own definition of success. Meeting Oprah may be great, but if it conflicts with the things I value, I'd pass on the dinner invitation. I will not allow the world's idea of success or the expectations of others to dictate my life. I know what makes me happy and working a lot and not being around my friends & family does not make me happy. Don't lose sight of who you are just because you are now hot on the radar. Your honesty is refreshing and has helped someone. This is what we need, openness and vulnerability. That's how we heal.

Yvelette | Calming Corners
Yvelette | Calming Corners

This is such a great post. It is so true that many time regardless of all the blessings surrounding us if we are not internally aligned there is a huge disconnect. That is something I am truly working on in 2013. Many lessons presented themselves this year to make me wake up and see this truth. There is a wonderful movie on Gaiam TV about happiness you should check out.

Dean Cantave
Dean Cantave

Paul, I am not surprised at all by your thoughts here on your accomplishments in 2012 and/or lack thereof. I never gathered that money was your motivation but as a consequence of your passion for love, life coaching, dating and relationships it required a great deal of your time and energy. Which in turn meant that you had to sacrifice time away from your family and time away from the things that were most important. Most people won't understand that all of the money and success cannot replace those things that are near and dear to us and intrinsic to the deepest makeup of our core being. I do hope in 2013 that you continue to "get that paper" but also find time to get back to your spirituality, creativeness, and family! :-)

KMK Foley, CAP-OM
KMK Foley, CAP-OM

Thank you. Thank you for being willing to be honest and share what it is to be a human with a heart.

TMB
TMB

I love it! I started following you on Essence, then you started to 'blow up' . You were everywhere. I remember thinking he's made it according to the world's standards but he travels so much. I wondered if the cost was too high. I am glad you came back to your first loves and you were not ashamed to admit it. Hopefully you will inspire others to be truthful and go to the things that make them truly happy!