People who are unsatisfied in life can be some of the most misunderstood folks around.
And that can be deeply unpleasant, in a world that seems to constantly demand happiness and satisfaction as the be all and end all of everything.
So if you find yourself in the unsatisfied category, it can be tough to find others who truly get what you’re going through as we put so much pressure on being happy.
(When we shouldn’t be trying so hard, as it is if anything quite detrimental.)
Onlookers might not have any sympathy or consideration for someone who isn’t quite grinning from ear to ear and brimming with positivity 24/7.
More often than not, people mistake your dissatisfaction for negativity or pessimism, and shun you quickly (lest it rub off on them and tarnish their happiness.)
In fact, you’ve probably been labeled a downer more times than you’d like to count.
If all of this sounds painfully familiar, continue reading to uncover the 8 behaviors usually displayed by those unsatisfied in life.
Oftentimes, understanding where our heads are currently at can help suss out where you might be going wrong, and what you can do about it.
1) Never thinking enough is enough
A telling sign that you’re unsatisfied in life is that you’re always in search of more.
That nibble of cake doesn’t satiate you – you want to gobble down the entire sponge cake, candles and all.
Earning 6 figures doesn’t cut it – you want 7.
Four big bedrooms doesn’t seem all too grand anymore now you have your sights set on a country mansion and a huge holiday villa for the weekends.
Your desire for more – be it more money, a better job, a bigger house, or a fancier car – seems to be absolutely endless.
Part of you knows that you’re doing well, but the other half believes that having these will finally bring you the satisfaction you yearn for. Then, and only then, can you rest.
But this triggers an endless cycle whereby you long for more, you slave away to attain it, and yet it never leaves your lips smiling. Plus those around you are starting to view you as rather materialistic, greedy, and money-driven.
And that despite the reality, which is that your pursuit of more is not driven by greed or materialism but by a deep-seated dissatisfaction with your current circumstances.
If this unhealthy and unhappy cycle sounds familiar, it’s important to remember that true satisfaction comes not from having more…
But instead of learning to appreciate what you already have.
2) Jealousy towards others (who seem far happier than you)
Another behavior that tends to reveal dissatisfaction in life is a frequent feeling of getting green with envy towards others, even if part of you is happy for them. Or at least thinks it is…
We’re all guilty of this, even if it’s hard to admit.
Take me, for example. In my own experience, I’ve cheered on friends scoring high flying promotions and popped open champagne bottles for them, whilst trying to ward off niggles of wanting to have their lives.
I’ve wondered what I was doing wrong, why I wasn’t as good, and what it would feel like to be in their shoes.
However, this constant comparison of my own experience to theirs only fueled my dissatisfaction. Sure, a healthy amount of rivalry can motivate you, but in too high a dose it’s only a constant reminder of what you think you don’t have, and what you think will make your life better.
The truth is, envy comes from a place of dissatisfaction. You’re looking at what someone else has because you’re not happy with what you personally have, which is nothing more than a destructive habit that can rob you of joy and contentment in your own life.
3) You don’t find joy in your day to day
One of the most revealing signs of dissatisfaction is an inability to savor the present moment or love the little things that life has to offer.
Instead of living in the present, it’s as if your mind is always elsewhere – either stuck in the past or ruminating about the future, leaving you almost incapable of truly enjoying what’s happening right now.
When you’re constantly stuck in your thoughts and not fully engaged with the present, it’s hard to find any satisfaction in your life.
To remedy this, learning to live in the present moment is an important step towards finding satisfaction in your life. It allows you to appreciate what you have now instead of always longing for something else.
4) Extreme self-criticism
If you find yourself being overly critical of your actions, your decisions, your appearance, your humor, intelligence, wit…
Well, firstly this makes life awfully difficult, and secondly this could be a sign of inherent dissatisfaction.
Should anyone try toss you a compliment, you’ll blush and say it was never as impressive as they’re making it out to be.
Or, you might chastise and punish yourself for every small mistake or failure, ignoring the fact that absolutely everyone makes mistakes and that they’re an essential part of growth and learning.
And this issue with being overly critical is that it can lead to low self-esteem and can prevent you from recognizing and appreciating your own worth.
To combat this, try to incorporate daily practices of self-compassion.
Unlearning this practice of being hard on yourself is tough, but take a step back to recognize each and every one of your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
5) Always on the go, never able to rest
Being busy is often seen as a necessity in today’s frantic world. Rest, if anything, a liberty that few can take without guilt.
However, if not managed properly, this constant busyness can mask an underlying dissatisfaction with life and exacerbate it.
No matter how packed your calendar, how demanding your schedule, you still feel like you accomplish nothing. And you’re only drained and exhausted whilst doing so.
But the truth is, being constantly busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re satisfied or fulfilled. If anything, it only leads to a swifter burnout and inability to complete tasks to a satisfactory degree.
So try to instill in yourself the fact that it is okay to slow down. It’s okay to take a moment for yourself.
Taking time to relax and reflect can actually help you identify what’s truly important in your life and what brings you joy and fulfillment.
6) Constantly feeling like you’re on the edge of a burnout
You wake up feeling like you haven’t slept in a week. In weeks. You’re yawning and your eye is twitching, and you feel like you need to hibernate.
Now, if your body is some sort of vehicle, think for a moment – can it run on empty?
Have you been trying to speed down highways at 100 miles per hour whilst not actually bothering to fuel up and let yourself rest?
And this isn’t your usual, I-slept-2-hours tiredness. It’s a deeper exhaustion that’s rooted in your bones, which no amount of sleep seems to fix.
This relentless fatigue probably stems from the fact that you’re overworking yourself or wasting time in relationships that don’t bring you any joy or fulfillment. Plus, the whole being green with envy, criticizing yourself and belittling your accomplishments doesn’t help much either.
The key to overcoming this is to identify what truly energizes you and brings you joy, and allows your tired soul to rest. It’s learning to slow down and enjoy relaxing for once, and prioritizing self-care even in your busiest of moments.
7) Procrastination expert
What better way to voice your dissatisfaction than to spend three times the amount of time needed on each and every task!
Leave the dirty laundry for 2 weeks!
Let the dishes stew in mold!
Leave the deadline to the very last minute and then go frantic trying to get it done overnight!
And sure, we all dabble in the occasional bit of procrastination, but if you’re putting off everything in your life, it might be because you lack any interest or drive in completing these tasks.
You see, when we’re satisfied and engaged with our lives, we tend to take action and get things done. We feel motivated and energized to tackle our tasks.
But when dissatisfaction creeps in, our enthusiasm wanes. Tasks begin to feel like chores and we find ingenious ways to put them off.
So next time you find yourself procrastinating, take it as a gentle nudge to check in with yourself. Ask yourself:
- Are you procrastinating because you’re genuinely tired,
- Or because you’re not satisfied with what you’re doing?
- How might you motivate yourself to finish the tasks on time?
- Would resting before attempting the task again help?
8) A thirst for validation from others
Stop for a minute. If your engine is run dry and you’re trying to fuel it on compliments and praise and winks from passersby, how exactly does that work in the long run?
Because unsurprisingly, a good night of sleep and a healthy breakfast sets you up better than living on validation.
But if you obsess over the latter instead of caring for your body or mind, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
And whatever your poison, whether it’s obsessing over likes on social media or bending over backwards to impress others, constantly seeking external validation basically prevents you from any real, tangible growth.
Because no amount of applause or approval from others can fill the void within you. Satisfaction comes from within; it’s about knowing your worth and not letting it be defined by others.
Stop giving others the power to validate your worth.
Say it to the reflection in the mirror if you have to; your worth is not determined by how many likes you get on Instagram or how many people approve of your decisions.
It’s easy to feel lost when you’re unsatisfied in life.
Others might not understand your feelings and label you unpleasantly, as negative, pessimistic, or even ungrateful, but this is simply because society tends to misunderstand those who aren’t constantly happy.
This pressure to be content can leave those who don’t fit the mold feeling even more cast out and at odds than before.
So, if you’re someone who is constantly seeking more, feeling empty, or always busy but never fulfilled, please don’t be too hard on yourself (as this will inevitably lead to more dissatisfaction anyway.)
You are teeming with so much potential and capability within you that is just waiting to be discovered.
For everyone, life is a journey and a bit of a rollercoaster, with constant ups and downs. It’s normal to feel unsatisfied at points, and it’s okay to want more.
What matters most is how you navigate these feelings, channel them into positive changes, and learn to appreciate what already sits in front of you.
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