The Ponder Effect | What role does dissatisfaction play in our lives?
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What role does dissatisfaction play in our lives?

Here’s some pondering I have been doing recently. Sit back in the summer heat and ruminate on this with me…

Complacency has a negative connotation, right? We are told not to be complacent: it’s a sign of stasis. But when I investigate what the opposite of complacency is, I come across words like dissatisfaction. Which is odd. If we aren’t supposed to be complacent, and the opposite of complacent is dissatisfied, then this tells us we are supposed to be dissatisfied. (The transitive property of attitude, perhaps.)

Dissatisfaction is indeed a motivating force. Over the course of generations, dissatisfaction with the status quo has helped effect necessary change on countless fronts. It has upended systems of tyranny and liberated whole swaths of people. It has transformed lives on an individual level as well. What role has it played in your own life? What has dissatisfaction prompted you to do?

On the other hand, dissatisfaction can become its own form of status quo. We can always find things to be dissatisfied about, can’t we? If one antonym of dissatisfaction is complacency, another seems to be gratitude. How might dissatisfaction be misguiding you? What false narrative might it be telling you right now?

Where do we find the balance between dissatisfaction as an agent for good and dissatisfaction as an agent for woe? Toward which side are you currently tipping?

Share your thoughts [All posts are 100% anonymous]

23 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    June 9, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Dissatisfaction can be a positive force that helps up deal with decisions and replace negative habits. It all depends on what we are dissatisfied about? If a person is continually dissatisfied and complains continually then perhaps that person needs to first examine their heart and seek counsel to help create change in their life.

  • Anonymous

    June 10, 2019 at 5:45 am

    I am currently dissatisfied with my output. I am overwhelmed with too many things that I love — family, work, fun, friends, and I am dissatisfied with my performance in all of them. I love to do a great job, to work hard, to feel accomplished. Lately, I feel like I am doing not so great of a job at everything. I am learning to be grateful for the good and wonderful things in my life. I hope the dissatisfaction with my performance helps me to take action and seek help so I can prioritize so that the people I care about don’t suffer.

  • Anonymous

    June 15, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    I am dissatisfied with myself that it has taken me almost a week to get my thoughts in writing. Dissatisfaction is an annoying, nagging call to action. It’s not big. Upset is big. Upset makes you do something pretty fast. Being dissatisfied jangles your nerves. It is a slow drip, drip, dripping. It can be good or bad. It can motivate you to make positive changes….get in shape, be a better listener to your spouse, get out of a dead end relationship, change jobs. On the flip side it can be negative….fool you into unfair and false comparisons, push you to quit a job in a field you like when what you really need is to move to another department, think the grass is greener. I have certainly had my share of dissatisfactions. Some valid. Some silly. Right now I am grateful. Deeply grateful.

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  • Anonymous

    April 25, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    My personality and work ethic is consistently, constantly trying to make things better — I cannot walk into a new situation, space, or personal encounter without immediately wanting to make something better and I never tire of this impulsive reaction.
    Within that description, I could be described as always dissatisfied. I resonate deeply with Lin Manuel Miranda’s “Never Gonna Be Satisfied” balled from Hamilton – when I consider my greatest dissatisfaction – my partner does not accept my “making things better” autopilot as optimism – instead, he sees it as only dissatisfaction and complaints. I feel the reason I take action and/or vocalize my intent for better is to help, to serve, and to save time, resources, or process — and the result of being raised by a critical parent.
    I do not intend to criticize, but my fast thinking for improvements has programmed my partner’s response to dissatisfaction as defensive. Through self-care and further awareness, today I am acutely aware of the risk of coming off as critical and I am patiently, kindly waiting for my partner will slowly reprogram his reactions to my idealist optimism and fully support me for who I am.