Whole, Complete, and Lacking in Nothing

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


A couple years ago, I took a workshop with Jill Rogers called the Seven Sacred Steps. Jill started the workshop with a ritual in which she looked deep into each of our eyes and said, “You are whole, complete, and lacking in nothing.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I felt the truth of this statement from both a soul perspective and as a deep sadness because I still hadn’t found the love (spelled MAN) I was looking for in my life.

Fast-forward a couple years. I now feel “whole, complete, and lacking in nothing.” And guess what? This is NOT because Prince Charming finally rode up to my doorstep. Nope. It is because I have internalized some key things about independence and true love.

1. In order to feel whole and complete, I first had to know the truth: I AM love. I don’t have to go looking for it. In fact, looking for love outside of myself (such as waiting for “THE” relationship to show up), is, quite possibly, the most agonizing dis-ease I’ve ever experienced. I’ve witnessed this in countless others as well.

2. If I expect another person (child, parent, lover, boss, or employee) to complete me in any way, I will always be disappointed.

3. Expectations are premature resentments. Yep—nothing is worse than expecting someone to “complete” you. And then, instead of showing up the way you want them to, they cancel a dinner, a date, an outing, or simply cannot be present with you.

4. Resentments contribute to chronic degenerative disease, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Your health can’t afford them.

Having said all that, here is the paradox. None of us is an island. We need each other. We are herd creatures. Community equals immunity—science shows that the more diverse your interests and your social interactions, the better your health.

So what is the answer here? How is it possible to know yourself AS LOVE when part of you is longing to be held and touched and gazed at lovingly?

Follow the two steps below. The more you do the two steps below, the MORE you feel yourself AS LOVE. And the more whole you will feel.

Step one: Feel it to heal it.

About 100% of us have unhealed childhood wounds that are still running our thoughts and our bodies to some extent. Like it or not, it is the unhealed five-year-old who is in the driver’s seat when you are lonely or upset. (See note) She’s the one providing the misguided solution to sit alone at night and devour a quart of New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream.

The unhealed child in each of us is longing to be held and touched and loved unconditionally. To heal HER, you must first allow her to express how she feels. Chances are good she still has some feelings that she has never dared express. And often they involve someone else, like Mom, Dad, or a love interest. You will KNOW who the person is who is still bugging you.

So give “your unhealed child” a hand towel and a sturdy wall. And let her snap that towel against the wall with a really good, satisfying snap while yelling: “I hate it when your heart is closed to me.” Keep banging that towel against the wall for about five minutes. Then give it a rest. Repeat daily for five days or so. Then take three days off. (This is another trick I learned from Jill Rogers.)

Another way to cleanse these emotions is to take an Epsom salt bath for 20 minutes. As the water drains out of the tub, imagine ALL the anger and hurt going right down the drain.

Repeat as necessary. This is a process, not an event.

Step two: Create community based on your desires.

As I said earlier, we are herd creatures. And we need each other. Years ago, I told my daughters this truth: Everyone is looking for a good gig. Every one of us wants to be invited to a good party. We are ALL looking for the people, places, and events that feel like HOME to us. Like in the old television show Cheers, “You want to go where everybody knows your name.”

When my daughters left home for college, I was struck by the fact that their colleges had meticulously planned and orchestrated the orientation process in such a way that friendships and community were virtually guaranteed. The colleges knew that the relationships they formed at this pivotal moment would likely last a lifetime—or at least during their four years of schooling.

Back then, I was newly divorced—and felt cut adrift from the social life I had known—and I couldn’t help but think that midlife adults needed what my daughters were experiencing as freshmen. But it didn’t exist. So instead of continuing to feel lonely, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and pursue an unfulfilled desire.

I had always wanted to learn how to dance. I started there. Without a partner. And without knowing a soul. Dancing was my true north. Now I have my community—we dance close-embrace tango, cook meals, go sailing, and go to movies. I feel whole, and complete, and lacking in nothing. And each day life gets better.

You can do exactly the same thing! With a little creative thinking, you’ll see that there are plenty of things you can do on your own that won’t make you feel alone. There’s no time like the present to pursue one of your burning, unfulfilled desires. Chances are it will open you up to new people and experiences that you’ll enjoy more than you ever thought possible. Just remember: YOU are whole, complete, and lacking in nothing. Hold onto that feeling, and let the Law of Attraction work its magic.

Note: To know the age of your inner child in need of healing, pick a number between one and ten. Whatever age first comes to mind is the age of the child in charge.

Have you ever felt you were lacking or incomplete? If so, how did you deal with your discomfort? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new as a way to meet new people or develop a new side of yourself? I would love to hear what you think. I welcome any and all comments. And please share this blog with anyone you think could benefit from reading it.

Last Updated: July 1, 2013

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. Gabriela
    11 years ago

    Starting something new , on your own ,is always a challenge. But once you tried it you realized there are no limits to imagination.
    This is my first time in the “the letter” and I’m very glad to be here with a new group of beautiful people.

  2. Barb
    11 years ago

    One thing I’ve learned…..No expectations = no disappointments.!! How true this is. Not easy to do, but not impossible. And that even goes for ourselves!

  3. Kathleen
    11 years ago

    Thank you, Dr. Northrup! As usual you are spot on! Still trying to heal that “empty place” in my heart……………..I’ll start by looking at it through the eyes of a 4 yr old.

  4. Anne
    11 years ago

    I had the disease of feeling that I needed a man most of my life and through 2 divorces. A few years after, I healed from that disease. Now, I am the happiest I have ever been. I am solid and on my feet now, and I can’t even comprehend that I would give up my independence and freedom to be with a man again. I don’t even know that I want to ever date, let alone live with one. Women cease to be themselves when in the company of a man. I truly believe this.

  5. Kate
    11 years ago

    I feel similar to the those that posted regarding panic attacks and fears around driving. This was very helpful. It really is a process, and I’m more confident that I can work through anxiety. Thank you!

  6. Natasha
    11 years ago

    I love you Christiane just because.

  7. mary
    11 years ago

    I have had a terrible time driving on interstate highways. So, as a result, I never leave town unless I can go by regular highway. This is so limiting and I am embarrased. There are very few people that I have the courage to ride with. I would love to be set free from all these fears.

  8. Christiane NorthrupMD
    11 years ago

    WOW!! These comments all remind me that Saturn is going though Scorpio right now– which began in October 2012. Lots and lots of old wounds are coming to the surface to be healed. And Divine Love is now very stable on the planet to make this FAR more possible than in the past. Mermaid Rose, I want to see you in that 18 wheeler. With a Goddess hood ornament. ( A nice contrast to the Mac Bull Dog!!!) Nice work everybody!!

  9. Cathleen
    11 years ago

    I have been a counselor/therapist for 25 years and am getting ready to retire this year. I am experiencing my old anxiety disorder thrust its ugly head into my life again. Despite being a trained therapist and knowing that these feelings cannot destroy me, I am pretty uncomfortable.
    In reality, this is the first time in my entire life where I am free to make decisions based on what I want rather than pleasing others! (Note the career choice!) Will I lose myself in the process?

  10. Maya
    11 years ago

    Oh, how I loved reading this newsletter, yup I will go with the epsom salts indeed & your second suggestion totally rocked…I have found what feels like “HOME” to me thru Tosha Silver’s OO group & the brilliance & love shared there, what a beautiful way to discover I am whole, complete & lacking in nothing!!!Thank you for sharing this important piece here…road to self discovery & amazement begins <3

  11. kate
    11 years ago

    I’m taking a train across country by myself to visit a place and friends I haven’t seen in over 30 years. I couldn’t have done this a year ago. Healing childhood traumas has given me the courage to start having fun. My excuse was my fear of flying….I’ll be 62 tomorrow and I’m not going to let fear rule my life anymore.

  12. Colleen
    11 years ago

    i loved reading everyone’s comments, so many similarities. my second marriage has been extremely difficult. i constantly want to make things better, when in actuality it will not make my husband love me any more than he is capable of. i am learning to stop blaming him, and healing myself with particapation in a new part time job that allows me to talk and be 100% myself, and people like me. that feels awesome. the loneliness of my marriage continues, but my pain seems to be less.

  13. Angel
    11 years ago

    Dr Northrup, you’re the Teacher and The Healer. Your work provided me with great tools and helped put past behind and move forward. I read a lot of self-help books. Not that they didn’t help, but real improvement didn’t begin till I started practicing Step 1. Feel it to heel it.

  14. Rachel
    11 years ago

    I am grateful for this,,perfect timing. My partner just decided to go back to be with his children, they live on the other side of the world. I have been struggling with his lack of presence, my disappointment ( unrealized expectations) and resentment. He left today. This has been confusing, but your words make sense.My inner 9 yr old is controlling this part of me that just feels rejected . I need to love myself through this and let that part of me heal that just wants to cling to being loved.

  15. Nancy
    11 years ago

    Wonderful message at the right time. Thank you for your willingness to show your vulnerability, to share your intelligent assessments; you offer so much comfort and joy by doing so.

  16. soulinee
    11 years ago

    I had a dream last night that I was going to perform a dance in front of a crowd ( i have danced alot in real life) but I forgot the steps and then I had an epiphany in the dream. I will dance for delight in myself and not worry about dancing for others. When I woke up I remembered the dance with a big smile how great to dance with delight in myself and not worry of others approval!
    I listen to your show every week and very much appreciate your insight and perspective. much gratitude!

  17. Katharine
    11 years ago

    I see now there is that inner child who needs healing. I am beginning to catch glimmers of understanding that I need to love myself, be compassionate to myself first in every way, before a healthy partnership happens after divorce. And then there are fears that, while I understand now what has to happen, that it will take too long. I am 60 yet I’m trying to embrace patience while I am bolstered by your research and books Christiane. I appreciate your work to encourage awareness.

  18. Sue
    11 years ago

    SoulCollage® and classical homeopathy have helped me heal along the lines you so eloquently described, both ways to honor not only our Wounded Inner Child, but liberate our long-buried Happy Inner Child. I am grateful for your sacred voice in such a conventional world.

  19. Nicky
    11 years ago

    This comes at such an appropriate time for me. I am feeling so much anger within myself. It seems like the person I am wanting to be, who I should be, is warring with the person I am and have been. The one operating from my 5 year old self when I ceased listening to my needs and focusing only on others’. Thank you for some very practical tools in dealing with the anger. The universe does provide what you need at the right time!

  20. Rose
    11 years ago

    I really love what you had to say. The most important thing I got from what you are saying is we must really love ourselves and when we can really do that it can help fill a huge void. I have really been working on trying to not worry about what others think of me as long as I am happy with me it is a tough one. I like to pretend I am flying with heavy sand bags full of garbage I need to get rid of and I drop it into the ocean very healing. I really feel lighter after I visualize that

  21. Lynn
    11 years ago

    Loved this Blog. I have wanted to create community for some time. I looked at the created communities near me and have not found what I am wanting. I won’t give up. If I don’t find what I am looking for, I will create it.

  22. Karen
    11 years ago

    Synchronicity at work. Feeling all those feelings you speak of.Came home to your email and another that addresses this topic. I’m listening and taking action. Thank you.

  23. Anita
    11 years ago

    My childhood pain has crescendo-ed and I have taken a personal retreat to finally deal with all of this; this is my first step into loving myself by setting boundaries and loving myself into healthier friendships and to get involved in activites that being out my best love.
    I listen to you every week on Hay House and the courage you show has given me a leg up on my own…I consider you one of my virtual BFF’s.
    Thank you for being in the world.

  24. Melly
    11 years ago

    Fascinating. Recently without bidding I have been going back to my 7/8 year old self telling her its OK that those adults didn’t understand you and thought you were being mean when you weren’t judging you by THEIR twisted thinking…I know I was loved I was just sorely misunderstood.
    ( I am an Indigo so this is perhaps why ! )
    .I actually do feel complete and whole and lacking in nothing just need to get my man to this point now ; ))

  25. Maria
    11 years ago

    Having stayed in a terrible marriage for the sake of my sons, I now feel that it was a big mistake. My children are successful and healthy but they completely disrespect me. They feel that I am too strong to ever feel pain or have hurt feelings and they take advantage of me constantly. When I tell them how I feel, they shrug me off. I know that they love me; but I am “safe” and I will always be there for them so, therefore there is no need to try to be considerate of my feelings.

  26. Julie
    11 years ago

    Sometimes you can feel alone in a relationship yet find yourself unable to leave it. When I realized that my fear of being alone was keeping me ALONE, I made a decision to start college at 58 years old. FANTASTIC!

  27. Jean
    11 years ago

    Thanks Chris for the insights that touch my heart & soul. Turning 66 this month and reconnecting with the arts(vocal music and acting) has resurrected in me the inner child, I love to be with. The other one needs to get a grip and go sit in the corner and have her tantrum. I’m way to busy having fun, singing my song of life solo(no love interest at the moment) and laughing with old and new friends, in my new home and location. If a fascinating man wants to join in, he most welcome.

  28. Jude Gladstone Cade
    11 years ago

    Christiane, so well said. Yes! Those expectations are resentments in the making. Your voice, pragmatic and clear, is needed by women, by me, by us. Thank you for your authenticity and your story.

  29. Auri
    11 years ago

    Your article was just what I needed to share with a friend with serious health issues. It also brought back my own need to be “whole, complete and lacking in nothing” and to be appreciative of what I already have in my life. Thank you!

  30. Mermaid Rose
    11 years ago

    Writing my desired name is my 1st step to whole, com., lacking nothing. Always wanted to learn how to drive an 18-wheeler and was going to do it this summer. Caring for my mom, 2 young children and my small business leaves me exhausted. After reading this, I might just go for it. If I ever drive a truck, I’ll have a goddess figure on the hood. Thank-u Dr. Northrup

  31. Trish
    11 years ago

    Having a little empty-nest blues yesterday and today. Perfect timing on this newsletter. Thank you for all you provide.

  32. Valerie
    11 years ago

    Thank you Christine, I believe that the first five years of our lives are so important and when I realized that these words “I hate it when your heart is closed to me.” have been with me for 49 years… In every relationship I have ever had, I absolutely get crushed when I feel that someone I love has closed their heart to me – it makes me feel unlovable.

  33. Jessica
    11 years ago

    These words came in the right moment, like as special message in the bottle. Thanks for these wonderful reminder.

  34. Hanneke
    11 years ago

    Thanks for reminding to read Reconciliation -healing the inner child, by Thich Naht Hanh.

  35. Jasmina
    11 years ago

    Glad to have read these lines. Dr Christiane’s words are always so enlightening. I am whole and complete and lacking in nothing…
    I will try the steps above to heal my inner child and post what I have experienced. Thank you.

  36. Myra
    11 years ago

    My husband died 2 years ago, there was a shift in my available time,I had a yoga practice at home.In August I went to a local yoga studio, which has become a very strong community for me.I have no fear about going to other yoga studio`s with myself.
    My yoga & the people I have met in 2 different yoga studio`s have played a huge role in my healing process from the death of my beloved husband to the healing of my 5 year old.

  37. Sylvie
    11 years ago

    Life has a way of giving you what you need at the right moment. You just did that.
    Thank you.

  38. Jane
    11 years ago

    I burst right out crying when I saw 2/3 comments had to do with driving phobia and panic attacks. I am not alone! Thank you for the insight. Not afraid of falling into the abyss as the journey to take care of me began a while ago. The fear is of getting “stuck” on the bridge, or in traffic or waiting for a train to pass or on a plane. Onward!! No reverting to the old ways. Thank you for the article/comments.

  39. Lauri Lumby
    11 years ago

    Perfect time! Just as I am 2 years out of my divorce and longing for partnership. I “know” all the things you outline in today’s newsletter AND I teach these things to clients and students. A great reminder that we often teach what we need to learn! Thank you for this beautiful reminder and for some simple suggestions on how to feel even more complete within myself.

    Lauri Ann Lumby
    author of “Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself.”

  40. joan
    11 years ago

    Now I know what those panic attacks are about. Fear that I am not living my life as I was meant to. Always concerned about how the family is doing. How am I doing? I love to dance also but my husband does not. So I need to reach out to find a way of enjoying it

  41. Bettina Blanchard
    11 years ago

    Chris this is wonderful. All so true. In fact it would be a great topic for next weeks Life Simplified. Thanks for planting the seed!

    My latest foray into expanding my community is also music related. Four years ago I got this crazy idea to learn the accordion. Oh what an adventure that has been. I now play two different types and just starting to play with groups. A delight for my mind, body and soul!

  42. Carol
    11 years ago

    Thank u so much Dr. Northrup today is my birthday and this is the best present ever!!!!!!

  43. Mary
    11 years ago

    Wonderful! Just what I needed to hear. I too, have recently been experiencing driving phobia, panic attacks .

  44. Martine
    11 years ago

    Such a wonderful reminder to be with our inner child, no matter what. Thank you.

  45. Linda
    11 years ago

    I am in therapy to try to understand the origins of a driving phobia. I recently had the insight that when I drive over a bridge, freeze, and fear that the “bottom is falling out” – what I’m actually feeling is panic over plunging into the abyss of what is, in fact, a separation from my self. A separation that began years ago as I strove to please others. As I rediscover my wholeness, I am bolstered by the support of my French conversation group and my women artist friends.

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