Why Are We So Dissatisfied?
Around 80% of people surveyed are saying they’re not happy with their lives and they’re feeling dissatisfied on some level.
This figure, to me, is nothing short of staggering. I recall these studies predominantly focused on the United States. Consequently, it raises an important inquiry: What’s the underlying cause of this widespread discontentment?
Why are we unable to attain happiness and fulfillment?
In this article, I delve into a few contemplations that have arisen, in the hope that they might resonate with those who find themselves among the disheartening 80%.
How Are You Defining Yourself?
The first consideration is that we’re too frequently looking to define ourselves outside of ourselves.
We’re trying to determine who we are by looking for where to belong, how we fit in, how we connect, whether we’re doing what other people think we should be doing, or whether we’re getting people’s approval or permissions.
We’re constantly looking outside of ourselves. We’re looking for the latest trend, the latest way to show up, the latest way to look, talk and express.
If we keep looking outside of ourselves and we don’t tune into the inner wisdom of our own being, we’ll be dissatisfied.
We’ll not be able to have a sense of fulfillment in our life. Consequently, we find ourselves trapped in a cycle of people-pleasing, prioritizing others’ happiness over our own, as our entire self-worth becomes contingent upon external factors.
By dedicating all our energy to external pursuits—such as people-pleasing or striving to meet societal standards—we inadvertently neglect our internal landscape. We become so preoccupied with external matters that we fail to tune in to our own inner being, our true desires, and needs.
This detachment from our True Selves impedes our personal growth and impedes the path to genuine fulfillment.
Aligning with Your Truth
Another significant factor contributing to our dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment in life is the absence of alignment with our own truth. But what does that mean?
Each of us possesses a distinct truth, one that differs from the truth of others—be it our partners, children, or friends.
Our truth represents what resonates with us, what feels right and authentic to our being.
When we fail to align with our truth, we tend to disregard our values, the things we deeply care about, our sense of purpose, or our calling.
Perhaps there’s a faint voice or a subtle whisper urging us to pursue a particular path, but we consistently ignore it. We make excuses like “I can’t do that. Now isn’t the right time,” or “Maybe when this happens, then I’ll consider it.” We continually push these aspirations aside.
In certain instances, we find ourselves trapped in jobs or relationships where our core values are absent. It’s as if we’re working for a company whose principles starkly contrast with our own.
Reflecting on my own journey, I recall seeking approval and permission from external sources while simultaneously recognizing the misalignment between my values and certain job positions. I questioned, “Why am I dedicating myself to a company that doesn’t resonate with what truly matters to me? Why did I choose this path? It’s not a reflection of who I am.”
Consequently, I would make moves and transitions, hoping that everything would magically improve if I changed locations or switched jobs. I sought external solutions, even though I had an awareness of the misalignment with my values.
These misalignments can manifest subtly in various ways. Thus, we must pause and ask ourselves:
What do we truly value?
Are we living in accordance with our truth, embracing our unique gifts, strengths, and ways of sharing them?
Are we aligning ourselves with individuals and endeavors that embody shared values?
Why Trying to Fit In Doesn’t Work
A final note regarding what contributes to our persistent dissatisfaction is our incessant pursuit of fitting in.
Conversely, some of us choose to disconnect entirely, assuming that we don’t belong, leading to thoughts like, “I’ll never find my people. I’ll just do my own thing.” Consequently, we experience a profound sense of isolation.
Isolation can foster self-doubt and a disconnection from others, leaving us with a pervasive feeling of lacking community.
When we make relentless efforts to conform to environments that do not align with our authentic selves or prevent us from expressing our True Nature, we start to feel a lack of belonging.
We lose the sense of connection and place. It’s as if our feet are unable to touch the ground because we find ourselves adrift, or perhaps we’re so heavily filled with gravity that we struggle to embrace who we are and how we present ourselves.
I believe this is a simplified explanation of why we experience dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment. Nonetheless, I find these three questions particularly potent for introspection:
Are we seeking external definitions of ourselves, detached from our true essence?
Are we genuinely aligned with our values, strengths, gifts, and how we wish to share them?
Are we devoting excessive energy to fitting in or detaching ourselves from life to the point where we cannot find our rightful place within it?
Asking ourselves these critical questions is essential to embarking on a journey toward contentment and fulfillment.
A Better Definition of Success
Even when we achieve significant success, we often find ourselves still grappling with dissatisfaction. In such moments, it becomes crucial to explore the underlying reasons.
I’ve worked with numerous women who’ve attained remarkable levels of success, as defined by societal standards. A luxurious residence, a hefty paycheck, an impressive car, an attractive partner, or similar accomplishments. However, despite these achievements, there’s a profound yearning within them to pursue something entirely different.
This desire stems from a deeper level, a place where our true values reside, and a longing to live in a manner that might not align with our current circumstances.
For instance, one might acquire a highly prestigious job in the bustling city, while their heart yearns to indulge in gardening in the tranquil countryside or pursue other unexplored aspirations.
The point is, these are the kinds of questions we can begin to ask ourselves to start living a life that feels genuinely fulfilling, and allows us to feel a sense of deep satisfaction.
For a video version of, Why Are We Unhappy in Life? How to Find Fulfillment and Live a Happier Life, watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYFDzQ1ciIE