Dissatisfaction is an emotion that tends to vibrate deep within us. To experience it means to meet a solid “No” — a “No, you can not have something that you want,” or a “No, you can not do this.” The more badly we want something, the deeper the dissatisfaction can feel.
And when another person is the cause, it’s even easier for all hell to break loose. Because unlike things we can’t control, like a bad plane ride or a terrible Subway hoagie, when someone let’s us down, it’s by choice. They did not choose to value something the same way you did, no matter how many times you told them how important it was to you. And when they choose to do that , it’s really hard to get over.
The Flip Side
This week, I was dissatisfied with a few people and it stung me so deeply that brought me to tears. However, after a few tissues for my issues, I came around to the truth that I must do the same to others. I definitely tell people “No” too. Not because I don’t love them or don’t want to support them. But sometimes I just can’t — my schedule or other priorities won’t allow it. And while I am choosing not to value something as much as they would like, it doesn’t ultimately mean I don’t care at all. I just can’t do something in the moment they would like me to.
When it comes to relationships, it’s better to expect that at times you will dissatisfy and be dissatisfied. The sooner we absorb this truth, the better we can manage its emotional ripples with greater control. We can better gauge what’s truly unsatisfying and damaging to the relationship, versus what comes with being close to someone.
To manage the feeling, look at where the dissatisfaction is coming from and ask yourself how pointed it is. If someone didn’t mean to dissatisfy you, and it isn’t the most important issue in your relationship, consider dropping it. After all, it’s what you will want someone to do for you in the future.
If the situation is incredibly important — talk about it. Learn where the communication breakdown was and impress upon them that what you needed was of the highest importance to you. Also, if you do decide to talk about what’s hurt you, don’t talk about it in fatal terms — i.e. “If you don’t pay attention to me next time, this relationship is over.” Because that just evokes defensiveness, where they can run their own list of all your disappointments and your footing in the situation becomes lost.
Finally if you are constantly dissatisfied, then it’s time to realize you are low priority in their life, period. Address it. Fix it. If you can’t, move on. Who you are and the dreams you have are important. You should always surround yourself with people who can support you, as well as be able to bounce back from times where they’ve failed to.
If you can’t cut someone out of your life (like a parent or a sibling), then just lower your expectations of how they can support you drastically. Expecting zero to very little from them will put your heart back in control over your situations, allowing you to be less hurt in the future.
How do you manage dissatisfaction in your life? Are you making anything a bigger deal than you should? Or maybe you haven’t recognized how deeply the damage has gone over the years? Share your story and tips in the comments below!