Why are we never satisfied? Why do we always want more? The day to never end. More dessert. Watch one more TV show before going to bed. More love and attention from family and friends. It’s never enough.
Moreover, as a child … and carried into adulthood, these cravings are responded to with an attitude of “what is wrong with you?!” Or “why aren’t you just happy with what you have?” Or, “if this isn’t enough? Maybe we will take away what you do have and see how you like that!”
In my early years, the seed was planted that to want more meant I am not good. In childhood, not being good (loveable), at least in the younger years, was the worst of all punishments. Withdrawal of love is equal to death in a young child. If physical violence or threat of punishment is part of the system, the child is left with a sometimes subtle, but always present terror. If these feelings are not recognized and walked through, they are left unexpressed and therefore continue to impact the adult.
The feeling of wanting, desiring, being excited about, reaching for more is thwarted. There may not be any conscious thought about this phenomenon, just a discomfort, a gnawing feeling of being dissatisfied. Something is missing, but what? Guilt may kick in – everyone knows that it’s important to be grateful for the blessings of a comfortable life. There are children starving in the world, and countries at war. We think it’s unconscionable to be angry about not being satisfied. We secretly fear that we don’t even deserve what we do have. We’re ashamed of the audacity to want more. Still, there is this feeling in the pit of the stomach that something is missing.
Depending on one’s particular defense system, this feeling shows up as pouting, anger, manipulation, neediness, drug use, over-eating, gossip, shopping. It could be a subtle, but not-acted-out, energy of dissatisfaction. This feeling can be so prevalent that it just feels normal. Of course I’m not satisfied – that’s life.
We go on, back to work, hoping that someday we will find the key to happiness. We struggle in our relationships, blaming our partners, friends and family for our dissatisfaction. We work harder for more money, thinking that will fill the hole. We travel, shop, read, distract ourselves in any number of ways, all the while wondering why is this not enough. And, meanwhile, life is passing by.
If you’re like me, you have read books about being here now, and know this is the key to ultimate satisfaction. Yet so many of us still return to “now what?” And the guilt returns. I must not be doing it right. I try to be here now, and now I want MORE.
If what is here now is experienced on top of “something is missing” the energy of this missing interferes with our ability to be present. Step back into the energy that is there, underneath the demand that it be different.
You can’t get enough of what you don’t really want. The secret to being here now and being grateful and fulfilled is allowing the feelings of “not enough” and “this isn’t it” and “now what” and “something’s missing.” And then returning yourself to the present.
Allow the child to express all of the disappointments and hurt of childhood. Hold this pain gently and without judgment. A child always wants more; that’s the nature of a child. If this feeling is not allowed for, it is pushed down and twisted into that black hole in the gut that is never filled. By simply allowing, with no judgment, the child feels heard, understood and loved.
Being loved and accepted is our fundamental longing. It is our nature. Fill yourself up with love and kindness. Be gentle with your wanting. Our true desire, to be loved and accepted for everything we are and everything we are not, can only be satisfied through allowing what is.