Life: How to Find the Missing Pieces

Written by on September 18, 2014 in Personal Accountability, Self Awareness with 12 Comments

We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present. ~Thomas Edison

Life: How to Find the Missing PiecesDo you ever get the feeling that something is missing in your life? It’s like an itch you can’t scratch, or that uneasy feeling you get when you think you may have forgotten something.

There is a natural tendency for most of us to push this itch aside or dismiss it entirely because – we tell ourselves – we have our health and are living a good life, and even if it’s not all that we once dreamed it would be, it really is okay. A lot of other people have it tougher, right?

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Those Missing Pieces

If this sounds all too familiar you are by no means alone. Taking the time to explore any empty places you may have does not make you selfish or ungrateful, nor is it a betrayal to your values or those you love.

In fact, it is quite the opposite because no matter how small that needful little itch is now, this feeling rarely goes away on its own. It also has an annoying habit of adversely affecting your overall satisfaction in life, and if persistent enough will inevitably surface in completely unrelated (and not always healthy) ways such as depression, overeating or substance abuse.

Stop looking for the answers from strangers. The answers to creating your best life are within you. Only you can hear your inner voice. The key is in asking the right questions. ~C. Nordyke

How to Determine What’s “Missing” in Your Life

Identify Your Triggers

No matter how subtle these feelings may be there will still be trigger points that are unique to you and your feelings of discontent, and in order to identify your missing pieces you will have to identify those triggers.

A personal journal is an excellent way to keep track of the behaviors, actions or situations that appear to spike your feelings of discontent. Areas you’ll want to explore are your relationships, job or career path, and where you are with your dreams and goals in life.

Another area to look at is your past. Maybe you’ve been unable to let go of something or someone in your past, unconsciously keeping that door open … just in case.

Dig Deep to Discover the Real Issues

Once you’ve identified a few triggers, it’s time to dig a little deeper to discover exactly what it is about this issue or particular situation that sets off that feeling of discontent.

Let’s say for example that you discover the subject of education is a trigger for you. Maybe you dropped out of college thinking that you could always go back and get your degree later on, but you never did, and now because of family and responsibilities it bothers you that this option is no longer available to you.

Or maybe your trigger is the relationship with your former spouse. If you are harboring hope of reconciliation; any attempt on their part to move forward with a life separate from you will most certainly trigger feelings of anxiety.

Identifying the source of your discontent is the first step to begin to explore exactly what it might take to make you feel better about this area of your life.

Don’t Settle for the Easy Answer

It can be awfully tempting to avoid uncomfortable emotions so before pursuing options to fill in the missing pieces you have to be completely honest with yourself about whether what you’ve uncovered is the real problem, or simply a symptom of another issue.

Let’s take getting your degree as an example. These are the types of questions you would want to ask yourself to determine just how important having that degree really is to you.

  • How do I really feel about going back into a classroom?
  • What am I willing to give up to make getting my degree a reality?
  • Does it make me feel excited or does the thought of the actual work that will be required to get my degree fill me with dread?
  • Which makes me feel happier – the personal satisfaction of doing the work to earn the degree; or being able tell others I have a degree and add it to my resume?

The story you have been telling yourself all this time may have been that life would be so much better if only you had that degree, but what if the real issue isn’t the degree at all? What if you’ve been using the lack of that degree as an excuse to avoid going for a more challenging job or career? Maybe you already have the experience and skills you need, but lack the confidence you believe having that degree will give you.

The most important thing is to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with these feelings and they rarely signal that your life is completely off track; more often than not it’s a matter of a deeply held desire to do something that you’ve avoided because you lacked the confidence to take the necessary steps.

The good news is knowledge gives you the power to begin taking the necessary steps to fill in those missing pieces of your life.

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


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  1. Diane Topkis says:

    I also think of missing pieces as unfinished business or loose ends. Until they’re wrapped up it may be difficult to move forward. I found this after my divorce. My ex and I had friends that just vanished without saying anything – I’m sure they weren’t sure what to say. After complaining about it once too often, I made a date with each of the female half of the lost couples. I needed to have some type of closure even if the friendship didn’t continue. It also helped me sort out who were my true friends.

    • martyherald says:

      I can relate to your story on a personal level Diane because the same thing happened following my divorce. Good for you for being proactive and reaching out to your friends! And, thanks for sharing your story with us and contributing to the conversation. :-)

  2. Dave Cenker

    It’s amazing to me how many tricks our conscious and subconscious mind can play on us. We need to have the patience, persistence, and courage to keep peeling the layers off our own proverbial onion to find what that itch we can’t scratch is all about. I have a hunch that I know where it’s originating from in my case, but the only way to be sure is to start peeling. Thanks, as always, for the great advice Marty 😉
    Dave Cenker recently posted…DrivenMy Profile

  3. Hi Marquita,

    I definitely have had those “something is missing” thoughts for many years in my life. It is good to know that I am not alone. I think for me it is a deep desire to do something that I have been putting off for years that I want to accomplish. Thank you for putting this in the forefront of my mind.
    Nathaniel Kidd recently posted…Are You Tired of Overspending on School SuppliesMy Profile

  4. Kimba

    I have these crazy triggers – like passive aggressiveness! Reacted very badly topeople who are passive aggressive most of my life. Came to understand very recently that my reaction was over my relationship with someone who disappointed me – I view their behavior as passive aggressive when really it was just their coping mechanism for being shy.
    Kimba recently posted…A Quotable WomanMy Profile

  5. Sue Kearney

    Mastering mindset; it all comes down to this, doesn’t it?

    Thanks, once again, Marquita, for the simple clear and powerful message you bring.

    Blessed be!
    Sue Kearney recently posted…On the balance point — New Moon in LibraMy Profile

  6. donna merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    I am so familiar with finding those missing pieces! You have provided an excellent way to eliminate that “itch” one has when facing those triggers.

    I do find that writing things down, and kind of free-associating with emotional feelings, will sometimes help. Digging deeper and deeper until I find what connection that “trigger” has. But that works sometimes.

    So true, it doesn’t go away immediately. We do have to work on it, no matter how long, until we are free from that “itch.” It is the only way to push forward.

    And so true what you mention that we should remember that these are only feelings…and yes, we can do something about them.

    Excellent advice!
    donna merrill recently posted…Take The Next StepMy Profile

  7. Suzie Cheel

    Awesome and inspiring as usual Marty, as well a being the itch I can relate to especially over the past couple of weeks as I knew I had the answers within, yet I kept looking outside. I then know I waste time and get frustrated and procrastinate. This week I am turning that around and spending time really listening to my heart whispers . As I have done that I have found more joy
    thank you xx
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…Manifesting Your Heart’s Desire FASTMy Profile

  8. Rick Lelchuk says:

    Hey Marty, It’s been a while.
    I wonder sometimes about the missing pieces in my life. They are always the same holes and have been for, well, as long as I can remember.

    So I question whether I’m ever going to find them. And, then, what would I do with them if I did? LOL!

    No, I think that, like contemplating the whys and wherefores of The Universe, some questions have no answers. The sooner we accept that all is as it should be and we are playing our role perfectly, the sooner we’ll have the nights sleep we’ve been longing for.
    All my best,
    Rick Lelchuk recently posted…Never Missed a StepMy Profile

  9. Mark

    What a really special message Marquita!

    And where did you find the awesome image of the missing part, BTW! That’s so cool!

    Anyway, I like how you advise us to not settle for or possibly even fool ourselves into believing that our first thoughts are really what’s affecting us!

    As you stated, dig deeper! As scary as the thought of doing so may be! LOL!

    And I like how you tied other areas of temporary discomfort, that might be directly related to our not effectively dealing with some other areas of dissatisfaction in our lives!

    That process does take some brutal honesty though! Thanks for sharing some extremely powerful (although) potentially painful insights!

    Much appreciated! And just to give a heads up here!

    I managed to mention your powerful comments in my latest post!

    Plus, I mentioned your web address to this excellent post as well! LOl!

    If that doesn’t drive you back to my blog M! Nothing will!LOL!

    Take care! And all the best with your launch!
    Mark recently posted…Isn’t It A Shame That Kmart Isn’t Really Into Creative Sales Ideas?Part ThreeMy Profile

  10. Marla

    Your words of wisdom keep me coming back for more Marquita…this week is no different. I’m familiar with that twitch. Yes, content and grateful and knowing there’s still more…for me it has been about giving myself permission to go for it. To choose what works for me, even if that takes me off the beaten path :) No better time than now!
    Marla recently posted…Are You Willing to Let Go of Making the Right Decision?My Profile

  11. This sounds like my life story in a nutshell. I have a certificate degree in graphic design and took fine art classes in California and in my hometown because I wanted to get a Masters degree in Fine Arts. I met my husband and got pregnant at 31 years old…I would not change a thing except to have gone back to school to complete my masters…I lack confidence because of that and always have in the back of my mind that people would be more impressed with my if I had a degree… I know that’s ridiculous…but it’s there nonetheless. I still have a lot of personal growth ahead of me…and who know…it’s never too late to study art…but I’d have to do it for the right reason…for ME. Great share!!!!
    Nathalie Villeneuve recently posted…PauseMy Profile

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