Don't let anyone tell you to settle. You are allowed to feel dissatisfied.
Why are we so afraid of dissatisfaction?
Once when I felt dissatisfied with the life I was living, instead of encouraging me to explore that feeling, I was told by people around me that there was something wrong with me.
A counsellor - who I went to talk to because I believed them - told me, "You travelled when you were in uni. You should be happy with that and settle down now."
Others I've told that story to since then have been horrified at that bad advice.
But the thing is, we are doing this all the time. More subtly perhaps, but the message nonetheless is, if you are dissatisfied with your life, there is something wrong with you. Just settle down and be content.
Don't get me wrong - gratitude is vital. Gratitude is healthy and the key to happiness. But practicing gratitude doesn't mean you can't still want to change something.
That's the problem, the reason gratitude has become such a buzzword and and a big deal - because we all feel so much in need of it.
Why doesn't gratitude just come more naturally?
Why do we find we are needing to work really hard at it?
Maybe because we are using it like a pill for the symptoms, and ignoring the disease.
We are not letting ourselves feel the dissatisfaction underneath.
(And the disease is NOT lack of contentment like we are told. It is our lack of freedom to really be ourselves.)
We aren't listening to this discontentment for the message from our inner selves about where our lives are out of whack with our souls.
So instead the dissatisfaction becomes all pervasive, nothing feels right. And we need to to work really hard at feeling grateful for this life that just doesn't feel right.
Well, what if it doesn't feel right? What if it's not right?
Who told us we had to live a life that didn't feel completely everything we want and be ok with that? Why did they tell us that? Why are so afraid of the possibility that life could really be all we hope for?
Is it because we are afraid of disappointment?
Because the people who tell us that we should settle down have decided that their disappointments prove its true, that life is mostly settling and picking up stray bits of happiness and purpose if we are lucky, amidst all the stuff we don't really want?
But that is a self perpetuating cycle. They don't believe it's possible, so they tell us it's not possible, and we go on to live like it's not possible.
And we think we are sparing people from disappointment, sparing them from shooting too high and being brought down by the realities of life.
But the realities of life are what we make them. They are not fixed and inalterable.
True contentment doesn't come from perfection, but neither does it come from ignoring what you really want.
You are allowed to want more. Dissatisfaction is a message, not a personality flaw.
You are allowed to feel dissatisfied.
Stop ignoring that feeling that something is missing. That feeling is there for a reason.
If it feels all pervasive, it's because it has been pushed down so long that it is trying to find any way possible to get out and be known.
That feeling bubbling up everywhere is terrifying. But the way to fix that is not to keep ignoring it. It's not to try harder to 'gratitude' it into submission.
It's to start LISTENING to what it is telling you.
You may be like I was, and deep down you KNOW what you are dissatisfied with, you know what it is about your life that isn't truly what you want - but nobody had given you permission to voice that.
And so you push it deeper until you almost convince yourself that you don't know, until you almost believe that there is something wrong with you and you just suck at gratitude and happiness.
But even then - You know that's not true. You know you want something more for a reason.
So don't be like I was and wait so many years to finally listen.
Your job, your relationship, your lifestyle... it's ok to not want the state they are currently in. To want something different.
Give yourself permission.
Don't let anyone tell you to settle. Don't let your own fear tell you to settle.
Start with gratitude, yes. But you can also be grateful for this message from your soul about what you don't want, and how it drives you to create something you do want.
Turn your dissatisfaction into power. If you ignore it, it will feel like helplessness and like something to be gotten rid of. It will feel like a battle.
But you will be in battle with your own soul - you'll never win that one. And why would you want to? Your soul will be heard, one way or another.
And if you listen to it, it will change your life.