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WHY WE FEEL UNFULFILLED: The theory of holes

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Have you ever wondered why you continue to feel dissatisfied and maybe unhappy despite your success in certain areas of your life?

In the 70s and 80s, A.H. Almaas and Faisal Muqaddam, through the understanding of deep psychology, have developed what they call "The theory of holes," which can answer our question.

According to Almaas, who also considers eastern traditions, we are born with an Essence, a True Self, free from conditioning.

The Essence is made of qualities; our connection with those qualities gets lost during growing up.

The term "hole" shows a part of us and, in particular, a quality that we have lost or are no longer aware of.

These holes may develop in childhood, usually because of traumatic experiences, conflicts, or interactions with the environment.

Let's look at one example:

Maybe our parents did not appreciate us or devalue us, making us think we were not important; our value was not seen and recognized, and as a result, we were cut off from this part of us, and a hole formed in its place, a deficiency.

When we lose contact with our value, we feel a sense of deficiency, inferiority, and we try to fill it up with false value coming from outside.

Here, we felt we didn't have intrinsic value.

Holes also show up in relationships, and the deeper the relationship, the more this happens.

In relationships, and more particularly between partners, we try to fill this hole with what we believe we are receiving from the other.

You know the expression: "we are made for each other"?

In a relationship that covers this or that hole, as soon the other person doesn't live according to our expectation, we might feel disappointed or inadequate, and we experience the hole, the deficiency again.

Each fills the other's holes; when the relationship ends, we do not lose the other person, but what filled the void, and we lose a part of ourselves in a certain sense

In a painful separation, you may feel that you have lost security, sometimes even will or strength, depending on the hole that the other filled for us.


  • We notice the desires which fill them up.

  • Identify the defensive or compensatory psychological structures which block the hole from awareness.

  • The awareness of certain emotions.

For example, if we lose our self-esteem, this loss causes a hole that we perceive as a sense of inferiority or lack of


As a defense and compensation for this sense of inferiority, we will try to feel superior or better than others, perhaps trying to achieve success in some area of our own.

We live in a world where fundamenta human activities often attempt to fill or avoid a sense of emptiness, deficiency, or meaninglessness.

Coming back to our initial question, we can conclude that often these holes are one of the major dynamics that drive our behavior.

Working with a counselor can help you identify the genuine needs and drive behind your action.

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