01/14/2014 02:40 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2014

Feeling Empty and Needy? 6 Ways to Fill Up and Heal Neediness

"What are you feeling right now?" I often ask my clients.

"Empty," is often the answer.

Since emptiness is an awful feeling, most people will try to fill the emptiness with various addictions, such as:

  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Drugs
  • Work
  • TV
  • Sex
  • Porn
  • Others' approval, attention or love
  • Over-talking
  • Shopping and spending
  • Bigger and better toys

... and so on.

We have many ways in our society to attempt to externally fill up. While these substances and activities might work for the moment, they are not lasting -- which is why they become addictions. We need to keep doing them to stave off the emptiness. In addition, needing external addictions to feel that we are okay creates a neediness that often puts off others. People energetically feel the pull of another's emptiness and neediness and are not attracted to it. We end up pushing away the very thing we want and need -- which is connection and the sharing of love.

How To Fill Up Internally and Heal Your Neediness

1. Shift your intention

When your intention is to get filled externally, then you will continue to turn to your various addictions. When you shift your intention to learning to love and value yourself, then you can start on the path of healing your neediness.

2. Establish a personal connection to a spiritual source of love and wisdom

Emptiness is a sign that you are abandoning yourself rather than loving yourself. It's a sign that your heart is closed to the love that is always here for you from Spirit. When you move into the intention to learn about loving yourself, your heart opens. If you then use your imagination to visualize a loving presence in spirit, such as a warm light, a caring energy, a guardian angel, an older wiser part of yourself -- your higher self, a beloved deceased relative, partner or friend, Jesus, Mother Mary, Buddha, Allah, a particular saint, or whatever your concept of God is, you begin to tap into the love and wisdom that is always here for you. With practice, you will start to feel and know that you are not alone.

3. Invite the loving energy of Spirit into your heart

Just as the air you breathe doesn't come into your lungs without you taking a breath, the loving energy of Spirit doesn't enter your heart unbidden. When you consciously invite the love into your heart by simply saying, "I invite the love, compassion and wisdom of Spirit into my heart," you will gradually become aware of the warmth of that love within.

4. Consciously bring the love to your essence, your inner child -- your soul self

Imagine that you want to show an actual child love. When you behave with yourself the way you would behave with an actual beloved child, you will begin to feel full inside -- full of love.

5. Take compassionate care of your feelings

If you had an actual child who was hurting, what would you do if you wanted to be a loving parent? Would you give the child a cigarette? A beer? Unfortunately, some parents pacify their children's feelings with TV, food and drugs -- which invariably makes the child feel unloved and rejected. The same happens on the inner level. Instead of pacifying yourself with addictions when you feel anxious, depressed, scared, shamed, lonely, or heartbroken, kindly and compassionately embrace your feelings with an intent to learn about what you might be doing to cause them, or about how others or events might be causing them. Stay present with them and allow them to move through you, rather than avoiding them, which leads to them getting stuck in your body.

6. Take loving actions on your own behalf

In order to feel loved, children need someone to take loving actions on their behalf. They need someone to stand up for them, feed them well, create financial security, follow through on promises, be present with them with kindness, listen to them, and so on. As adults, we need the same things on the inner level -- we need to take these loving actions for ourself. When you make others responsible for your safety and sense of worth, it's like abandoning a child -- giving the child away to someone else to love them. This creates fear, anxiety, neediness and emptiness. Taking loving actions in your own behalf -- actions guided by your personal spiritual connection -- makes your inner child feel loved and safe.

If you want to move beyond emptiness and neediness, then practice these six ways of filling up. You will be amazed at the shift that occurs in your life -- both in your relationships and in your ability to manifest your dreams!

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."