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The Blessing of Dissatisfaction
by Stewart Blackburn

We all experience dissatisfaction many times a day. We taste our food and adjust the levels of salt and pepper because we are very mildly dissatisfied with the levels of those condiments as presented to us. We roll over in bed because we no longer fully enjoy the previous position. We change the channel on our television sets because we have become dissatisfied with the current station. These are trivial dissatisfactions but ones surrounding our jobs, our relationships, or our living space are very similar, only larger. Dissatisfactions of any size lead to desires. And it is what we do at this point that determines whether we utilize our dissatisfaction or let it go to waste.

There are many ways of dealing with dissatisfaction. Ones that are easy to cbange, like your position in bed, get changed and that's the end of it. But there are lots of moments of dissatisfaction that challenge us to make serious changes. One of the most classic responses to dissatisfaction is complaining, particularly complaining without doing anything further. I'm sure we all know people who specialize in complaining and who never really have an answer to the question, "Well, why don't you do something about it?"

Related to the complaining tactic is the one of enduring and resignation. This one is usually based on an assumption that anything done wouldn't do any good any way. Since the motivation to do anything is to feel better than one is feeling in the moment, the person is in effect saying, "If I endure this, it is better than all the pain and wasted effort of trying to have things different." There may also be an element of preferring the numbness engendered in enduring to the possibility of some unknown pain.

Some people feel better when their rules of reality are validated by situations of misery or unhappiness. If the view is that "The world is against me," and events and situations keep occurring that support that view, then at least they have the satisfaction of knowing that they were right.

Undoubtedly there are a great many other responses to dissatisfaction that the clever minds of man have developed. But the one that interests me the most is that of appreciating dissatisfaction for what it can teach us and motivate us to do.

For one thing, dissatisfaction puts us in touch with our inner guidance system, the one that shows us when we are in alignment with the deepest parts of ourselves and when we are out of alignment. In Huna terms, when we are feeling good we know that we are in harmony with our Aumakua, our spirit. When we are feeling dissatisfied, then we know that we are being urged towards finding something else that will better suit us in our totality.

If, for instance, we like drinking a lot of alcohol because we enjoy the effects of that inebriation, at some point the pleasure of that inebriation will diminish to the point where there is dissatisfaction with that inebriation. This can best occur when there is little interference by ideas of what should or should not be done. It is a process of self-awareness and needs it's own space to develop. I'm speaking here, both from personal experience and observation of others, about the process of understanding ourselves and growing through the experiences of life. Relationships, jobs, living situations, and appearance can all go through this process.

Dissatisfaction, when we take the time to look it over carefully, shows us what works for us and what doesn't. If we accept the implied invitation of Pono, that effectiveness is the measure of truth, then we ask ourselves, "Does this really work for me?" It is dissatisfaction that alerts us to the likelihood that whatever this is, it doesn't really work.

By trying to conform to standards and ideas of how things "should be" we short-circuit our guidance system. We overrule or simply ignore the signs of dissatisfaction in the name of doing something "right." The more we do this the further we get away from who we truly are. We increasingly betray ourselves in order to fit in, get love, be respected, or any of the other dubious promises of "being good." We lose sight of our own wisdom and rely on the opinions of others to tell us what to think and how to feel.

Dissatisfaction can empower us. By acknowledging that we don't have to endure something we don't like, that complaining may get us only sympathy or miserable company, and that validation of one's ideas about reality is a paltry pleasure, we move into position to change things dramatically.

Dissatisfaction is the first step in reclaiming our core being. It is the statement that "this isn't good enough for me!" When we can say that then we are ready to look around for what might be good enough. We start to become connoisseurs of life, seeking out the things that excite us, bring us joy, spark delight. and magically entrance us. Our choices, the options that our mind present us with, become based on what would please us the most, not on what will relieve our fears the most.

It all begins when we honor our dissatisfaction and let it motivate us to live and feel even better than ever before!

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