It’s the twilight of summer; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you found yourself basking in an overly bright office wondering, what the fuck had happened?
You examine yourself: eyes strained from staring into a retina-scarring monitor, annoyance heightened due to bombardment of lousy jokes courtesy of your once rumored-to-be-hilarious coworker and brain weak from a day spent shuffling though emails.
It’s in this moment that you find your heart wishing you could trade places with anyone, even the landscaper because at least he’s outside, at least he can enjoy the weather.
To your petty delight, the clock strikes five, officially freeing you from your sentence. You proceed to happy hour to drown your week in a flood of light beer and mozzarella sticks. In the midst of the cheese and beer you wonder one important question: “What had happened to your dreams?”
Being dissatisfied is a slow disease more akin to cancer rather than a middle school, pimple faced, I-don’t-know-what-I-want feeling. It has a way of caging your once devil-may-care attitude and replacing it with a docile, dandelion-picking demeanor.
Being dissatisfied makes your eyes shine dimmer, heart beat fainter, moment by moment until you suddenly “wake up” and question where you went wrong.
In less sophisticated words, it’s a real bitch, and it’s hard to shake.
Too often we find ourselves in a predicament, we know something is wrong but we don’t attempt to fix it. Who wants to spend the better part of their life feeling this way? Cool, me neither.
I want to ask you a question.
How do you handle your problems?
I’m sincere. How do you handle your problems, you know, when you feel dissatisfied with an aspect of your life?
I don’t want to get all Yoda on you, young Jedi, but tell me, do you treat the symptoms? or do you treat the cause? Do you take the road well traveled and grab the tail of the snake? Or do you channel your inner Steve Irwin, pull up your big-girl panties and grab that f&*king snake by its balls (Ok, I’m not even sure that snakes have balls, grab that f*&King snake by it’s head).
Listen, I get it, nobody willingly wants to grab the head of the snake. They’re snakes; they’re biblically scary.
Addressing your feeling of dissatisfaction is a weird and messy process because to do so, you need to find your inner truth. I have news for you: finding your inner truth is a long, lonely, walk where cars splash dirty puddles on you and the driver laughs in sick, technicolor, TV-cartoon delight.
From an emotional standpoint the process is comparable to taking a knife and twisting it in your stomach; it’s painful, it’s personal and answers become clear after you’re worried it’s too late.
It is for that reason we often find ourselves taking the more comfortable rout and consciously choosing to grab the snake by its tail. We fail to treat the problem but rather we treat the symptoms like the good boy and girl we are.
Fortunately, I’m here to help you. I’m going to show you how to grab the snake by its head and live to tell the tale. You’re welcome.
Are You Treating the Symptoms or the Problem?
As stated, addressing your feelings of dissatisfaction is the proverbial bitch, complete with head-scratch inducing questions that provoke stomach turning feelings which have the knack to make you second-guess yourself.
Answering this question requires the deepest of introspective, Steve-Zissou-esq dives into the depths of your soul. Sounds scary right? Because it is scary. Despite our fear we must move forward. The first step is asking yourself if you’ve been treating the symptoms or the problem. I’m willing to bet you’ve been treating the symptoms.
So how do you identify if you’ve been treating the symptoms? Glad you asked! It starts with personal reflection and paying attention to your feelings. You’ll know if you’ve been treating the symptoms if how you medicate your problem doesn’t lead to your problem being solved. If your medicine doesn’t alleviate your ailment, then obviously the medicine doesn’t work.
Does going to happy hour make working a job you hate worthwhile? Does buying your wife a new car make up for years of emotional disconnect? Does finding people to love you, ever fully replace you loving yourself? Does knowing that something is wrong but never actually taking the measures to fix the problem ever solve the problem?
These are only not-so-elaborate antics that disguise the feeling of dissatisfaction. These antics treat the symptoms and not the problem. They’re band aids marketed to us as permanent solutions and that my friend, is the issue.
Finding your Inner Truth
The second step is finding your inner truth (you know, the part in the video game where the main character pulls the sword out of the stone and everyone is really stoked.). When I say inner truth I mean what do you and only you, want for your life? Ask yourself this, what makes you happy? What make you come alive?
To find your inner truth you need to be painfully honest with yourself, in fact, you need to be uncomfortably honest with yourself. In theory, knowing your inner truth should be as automatic as waking up, but of course, it isn’t.
For whatever reason, many of us have difficulty finding our inner truth, we have difficulty knowing what we want out of life. We grew up with so many options that it’s hard to stick to one course when we can guess at the outcome of many courses. We’ve become paralyzed with options, this is the blessing and curse of the age of knowledge.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of answer for finding your inner truth. Our truths are snowflake unique in this regard. I can’t tell you what your answer is but I can tell you it’s only when you live out your inner truth that happiness can manifest itself and you’ll start down the road to satisfaction.
Again, I cannot stress enough that it is crucial that you are honest with yourself. This process takes time, makes you look your smiling demons in the eye and forces you to become accountable for your life. This is a good thing.
A great tool to help you diagnose your inner truth is to ask yourself what you don’t want for your life. When you know what you don’t want to do, it helps you locate what you do what to do. Give it time, think about it everyday and eventually you’ll notice what you’re looking for.
Grabbing the Head of the Snake
This is it, in fact, you have waited your entire life for this exact moment: It’s time to grab the motherfucking snake by its motherfucking head. It’s time to face your fears, become accountable for your life and walk your own path.
I have news for you, you only have one life to live. Why spend it on trivial pursuits that don’t bring you satisfaction? Change is scary, change is uncertain but when you become the one to initiate the change, then change is POWERFUL. There is truth to the statement life begins where your comfort zone ends, trust in that knowledge.
Albert Einstein once said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He’s right. If you don’t find satisfaction in your career, change careers. If you don’t find satisfaction in your relationship, change your relationship. If you’re dissatisfied with yourself, change the situations you put yourself in. Control what you can control.
****Dissatisfaction can materialize in many forms not strictly limited to the career and relationship arenas. Be aware of this as it will help you notice if you have been treating the symptoms****
My best advice to grab the head of the snake is to make a plan of action that aligns with your newly discovered inner truth and stick with it. Move incrementally closer to your goals every day, because remember, where you are today is a product of what you did yesterday. Make sure your goals are detailed and SMALL. Making many small minor changes is the only way to effectively lead to large major changes.
The great mystery of life is why people sacrifice their hopes and aspirations to get caught up in a rat race they really don’t care about. We often live a life to please other people that we don’t know, and don’t particularly care about. I’m asking you to question your life and see if you’re treating the symptoms or the problems; it’s the most rewarding question you can ask yourself.
Comment, share, and tell me what you think, let me know if you have been treating the symptoms or the problem. Let me know if this article has helped you and if you want share what makes you feel dissatisfied, maybe someone can help you. Thanks for reading!