Ultimately, love is the cure for dissatisfaction. I don’t mean love of another person, but love of your own life. But how do we get there from feeling lost and unhappy with the way things are?
Understanding Chronic Dissatisfaction (CD), and accepting that it’s a common experience, is the first part of transforming it into a force for good in your life. The wisdom of befriending your dissatisfaction is examined in this sixth and final article in the series. To start at the first article in the series, click here.
Through studying yoga, I learned how normal I was to regularly feel dissatisfied in life, in that amorphous, recurring way that I’d come to call CD. In yoga I discovered sophisticated philosophies and rich texts going back centuries, which specifically addressed CD and its corollaries, if by other names. Yoga offered paths to deal with suffering in physical terms, emotional ways, and transcendent terms.
I learned of the concept of Dukkha, which in broadest terms means suffering of all kinds, from emotional dissatisfaction to physical pain, death and all life’s hardships. There is great benefit in recognising the ever-present nature of all kinds of suffering as normal and from that basis, cultivating wisdom and practices to cope with suffering.
Dukkha is neither a thing to be loved nor hated, but a reality to be acknowledged and mindfully accepted as a part of life. That’s a very liberating attitude to suffering, rather than seeing it as paralysing and terrifying. It’s taught that all living creatures must in some way experience and deal with suffering and dissatisfaction – it’s inescapable because we are mortal. We must face challenges, age, and eventually die, as matters of fact. Therefore, there is little point wasting our energy trying to run from the great ‘inevitables’ of life and death. Better that we get our heads around our reality with all its good and lousy parts. Better to live fully in the precious time we have, with our eyes wide open, than half-asleep.
When you accept suffering and dissatisfaction as realities of life you are better prepared to face inevitable challenges. That acknowledgement and acceptance of CD is the first part of transforming it into your ally. That perspective takes a great deal of the power out of CD when it starts to rise in you. The second part is enlisting your energies fully in a greater purpose and force within yourself. The force is love.
Love is the cure for dissatisfaction
There is no greater neutraliser for the dissatisfactions of being alive than love. There’s no greater place to find meaning in the randomness of everything, than love. I’m not talking about love in a teddies and hearts, cheesy kind of way. I’m talking about love as a magnetic motivator pulling you forward. It has such massive power you can throw the weight of your body and soul onto it. You trust it because you know it’s what really matters. Love so strong in all areas of your life that your soul knows it’s invincible. Love that ensures we are utterly kind and compassionate in the values behind all our striving. I’m talking about identifying 360 degrees of love that will pull you forward with powerful energy.
There are three areas of love to focus on in creating a feeling of wholeness and integration in your world. Once identified – these three great loves of your life form a powerful and ever-evolving compass. They will keep you on track and CD in its place. There is no more powerful way to manage CD than to find a sense of deep integration within yourself. Integration comes when your values and desires – your loves – are guiding you. Love transforms dissatisfaction from paralysis to the ultimate motivational rocket fuel. We fall in love with many people and things, but ultimately, there are three great loves of our lives:
Self-compassion, meaning being self-aware, kind and non-violent to yourself in your words and action, including becoming mindful of self-defeating patterns of thoughts, so you can choose a different focus when they visit you;
Mindful relationships – nurturing meaningful connections with other beings (animal, mineral, vegetable or spiritual);
And Flow, also called Peak Experiences, which means discovering and giving yourself to pursuits or work that you love, in which time dissolves and you merge with the object of your attention.
Recognising your three loves, knowing exactly what they are for you, and where you find them, is a key to greater happiness. It’s also the greatest antidote to CD. Why wouldn’t it be? We want to spend more time doing what we love; being with the beings we love; feeling good about ourselves. So why not prioritise those desires and let the three core loves guide our direction in life? Guide us in everything?
In short, these three are the compass to guide you in your internal world. Using them as your guide will organically be reflected in more soul-centred, self-supportive choices. The three great loves of our lives – self-compassion, mindful relationships, and flow – are universal – meaning they exist across all the variations of us as unique individuals. Although they are consistent, they take different forms and measures in each of us. Living from them is a map to joy, fulfillment, sense of purpose and grounding in the world.
Being motivated by the loves means knowing yourself better, activating your deepest strengths and eliminating a lot of confusion and stress about your life’s path. Living from the three loves means knowing that you’re on track because you’re generally living a life of passionate engagement, and dissatisfaction becomes a sometime assistant, rather than a constant foe.