Chronic Dissatisfaction is Toxic for the Soul

September 12, 2017

Have you ever felt that whatever you do is never enough? That you could have done things better? Do you demand too much from yourself? Are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Chronic dissatisfaction is toxic and leads us to perfectionism and too many demands. Knowing how to transform this dissatisfaction into a positive feeling will help you to balance your life more easily.

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman says that we live in a disposable consumer society which is always looking to satisfy its material needs immediately. This means that the products we acquire are used up quickly, meaning our needs are never satisfied, and, as a result, we always want to consume more and more in order to try and feel fulfilled.

Therefore, part of the responsibility of this general dissatisfaction that we experience is at a social level. We spend the day craving new things and, as soon as we have them, we want something else! In the consumer society we live in, practically every novelty generates a desire for more and more.

“Half of our lives is desire, and the other half is dissatisfaction”

-Carlo Dossi-

How do you know if you are dissatisfied?

Chronic dissatisfaction is not only a social phenomenon, but also a personal and individual problem. You feel that nothing fulfils you, you find yourself overwhelmed by everything on your plate, and once you finish your work you find there is no reward for your efforts. On top of this you feel the need for constant approval from other people, and the sensation that you never get anywhere on time – there is always something that can be done better.

If this is what happens to you, it is likely that you also feel that everything always turns sour in your life and that you set goals that are impossible to reach. Comparison and envy are also two characteristics that are frequently associated with dissatisfaction. The more you compare, the more dissatisfied you are. The paradox of envy is that it moves you away from your psychological well-being instead of helping you to reach your desires.

If you feel that nothing satisfies you, you may have some outstanding issues related to your self-esteem. Insecurity is another point that is present in the feeling of chronic dissatisfaction. When you have doubts, you can feel a great fear of failure, and this will impede you from making decisions and moving forward in your goals.

Is there any way dissatisfaction can help you?

The good news is that dissatisfaction has two sides. One, as we just described, may embitter you, but the other one can help you move forward. Occasional dissatisfaction can be positive, it encourages you to improve things, and to better yourself in your day to day life. In small doses, it can give you energy and motivation to not be overcome by obstacles. In addition, it pushes you to not conform to what is expected of you and to and seek a solution to your problems.

The bitter side of dissatisfaction comes when you allow it to install itself in your routine and you let yourself be overcome by the demands, the comparisons and the desire for perfectionism and ambition. To ensure that dissatisfaction will only be occasional, it is necessary that you don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself. You are unique and you have the same right as everyone else to have your own taste, thoughts and emotions.

Why does dissatisfaction that continues in your life end up being toxic?

Dissatisfaction can give you signals that something has to change in your life or in your surroundings, and that can be positive if you take advantage of it. It becomes harmful when you keep complaining and showing your discontent, when you fill your life with ambition and when you focus on the past or the future instead of living in the present. The desire to control means that you won’t be able to relax and you’ll forget the importance of enjoying the simple things in life.

“Ambition is unhappier about what it doesn’t have than it is satisfied with what it does have”


If you are one of those people who tends to want everything to be perfect, it is likely that your dissatisfaction will end up harming you. No matter how much you plan, life has its own plans and no one can control events or how people around you will act.

How to get rid of toxic dissatisfaction?

Some ideas to get rid of this toxic dissatisfaction:

  • Do not compare yourself: you are a unique person. Comparing yourself only leads you to idealize others, instead of making contact with the real you. Accept yourself as you are, and be grateful for what you have, so you can be strong enough to follow your own paths.
  •  Let your needs be real and not imposed: think about the things that you want: is it because you need it, are yearning for it or because you think “should” do or have it?
  •  Do not try to prove anything to others: the only person you have to prove yourself to is yourself. Show that you value yourself as you are
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes: you are imperfect, just like the rest of humanity. Therefore, use your mistakes to learn and get something out of them.
  •  Let your emotions guide you: find a balance between emotion and thought, without covering over your emotions. Only by giving space to all your emotions will you be able to manage your dissatisfaction better.
  •  Enjoy the moment: your life is lived in the here and now, live it with awareness and fullness.

Trust in yourself and in what is to come nourishes your soul and your body. If you are flexible in your life then you won’t feel the need to control things so much, nor the need for perfection that causes chronic dissatisfaction in us. In this way you will learn to appreciate yourself with all your flaws and virtues in order to let go of your demands and be happier with yourself and those around you.