The gift of dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction is uncomfortable.

If we get uncomfortable enough, we adjust.

Dissatisfaction can be the force that leads to movement, the pathway to growth. It demands something from us. It keeps us from relaxing.

It’s an annoying little whine that won’t let up until we look ahead, until we ask questions: What’s going on here? What’s the problem? What’s the next step? What needs to change? 

Dissatisfaction is a feeling and a force. It roars in your head and ravages your familiar territory. It might wipe out all the landmarks you trust for comfort and guidance.

What worked before quits working. 

You’re at a loss. You feel lost. 

But what if the taking away is a giving, a huge generosity, and you’re a little too close to get a good perspective on it?

What if there’s absolutely nothing standing between you and a kind of ecstatic and unhinged happiness except your need to have it all mapped out before it happens?

What if that label, the identity you want so badly, isn’t a help or a boost into anything real but is a cage locking you into a certain way of life that’s never going to be enough for you?

We’re trained in self-deprecation and self-doubt from birth onward, most of us. We’re taught to seek validation. We’re tasked with proving ourselves worthy.

Worthy of what, exactly? 

Maybe you feel left out and warped, unsustainable and awkward. Unable to push in past the edges, to let go fully. Unable to reach that ecstasy of belonging other people seem to have.

You’ve tried being a good consumer and it didn’t work, did it? Are you not entertained? No?

Are you not satisfied?

What’s wrong with you?


Maybe you take a few steps further back from the edge of that group or that norm or that identity you’ve been running after for so long. Quit leaning into it. Quit striving to become it, to fit into it, to melt yourself seamlessly into a group that seems like it might feel like home, finally.

Step back, step back, step back, take a few deep breaths and take another look.

Maybe it’s nothing but a very small space in an enormously large universe.

If the small spaces will not hold you, don’t blame yourself. Don’t diminish yourself to fit into them.

If the stick-on labels of society won’t stick to you, don’t change yourself. Don’t cut off some part of your soul, don’t sand down your surface so the label adheres.

What is the lasting part of this picture?

These petty systems? These waves of fervor and reaction? These cubicles and emails and badges? These dings and buzzes and bells? 

Or you, the soul expanding from finite to infinite, the soul tasting eternity one moment at a time?

The civilizations are always crumbling. Don’t hang your hat anywhere but on your own head.

Dissatisfaction reminds you of who you are. Don’t stop listening.