Love it, leave it, or change it – dealing with dissatisfaction
We're all pretty good at complaining. Maybe even too good. Because it's always easy to complain about the things that bother us. And of course it's good to let off steam every now and then. On the other hand, complaining also has a significant impact on our general well-being and sense of satisfaction...
Joy, hustle and bustle, bitterness…?
There are days when nothing works. First the bus drives away from under our noses. At work, the deadline for the project, which we are already close to, is pushed forward. During break the coffee cup smashes on the floor and when we get home in the evening the children are shouting. As if that wasn't enough, to top off this successful day, when we opened the washing machine, we were met with a pink-colored load of white laundry. Great!
We all have days like that, right? But it doesn't always have to be several things going wrong for us to react in annoyance. Sometimes all it takes is one wrong comment from our partner to make us mope all day.
Why do we react like this anyway? Why do we allow ourselves to be so carried away and affected by seemingly unimportant things? After all, we know – rationally speaking – that none of this was that important in retrospect.
Behind these many small upsets there is often something bigger hidden. A fundamental dissatisfaction with an area of life, the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed or even anger or sadness.
A check-in with yourself
If you find yourself regularly getting upset about the smallest things, this is a good indication to listen deeper into yourself. How are you really feeling right now? What areas in your life are you happy with? What challenges scare you or make you feel powerless? What are you dissatisfied with?
Really take your time here and give yourself 10 to 30 minutes just for yourself to reflect. Make a list with two columns: “I’m happy with this / This is going well right now” and “I’m dissatisfied with this / This could be going better.” Feel into yourself and note everything that comes up.
If you find it difficult to write things down based on your gut instinct, you can gradually go through different areas of your life one by one. These areas of life can be: partnership, health, relationships (family and friends), job and career, creativity, money and finances, mindset, spirituality, personality, living situation and material things, leisure time, mental health, meaning, social engagement...
Visualizing our feelings is always very helpful for our brain. You can do this by drawing a column chart. Each pillar represents an area of life. The y-axis indicates a 10-point satisfaction scale. The height of each column represents how satisfied you are with the respective area of life (1 = very dissatisfied, 10 = completely satisfied).
At the end you can see at a glance where the problem is. Subconsciously we usually know what really bothers us. However, verbalizing these impressions and feelings and bringing them to the surface is not always so easy. An exercise like this can bring clarity and awareness.
That's all well and good, but what do I do with it now?
Of course, visualizing or writing down your own dissatisfaction does not solve the actual problems. So what do I do with the “newly” acquired information?
Some time ago I came across the concept of “love it, leave it, or change it.” And to be honest, this concept doesn't solve all the problems. But it has stuck with me and has brought me out of the mental role of victim many times. But let’s slow down – what exactly is it about?
Basically it's about having three options (for action) when confronted with an unsatisfactory situation.
Accept the situation as it is. Put your ego aside, your pride, your anger, whatever. Find something positive about it. Look at the situation from a new perspective. Accept what is, enjoy it and deal with it. Or also: Accept what is, enjoy it and sit back and let it happen.
If “Love it” doesn’t work or doesn’t feel right, you can try leaving the situation. To step back. Leave the room for five minutes and return to the matter at a later date when intense feelings have subsided. Or even take more drastic steps like quitting your job or ending a relationship.
Change it .
This third option is the one that I think is far too often neglected. Because we have much more “power” over situations than we always think. What can you do to change the current situation? What specific steps can you take? Can you make a specific phone call, find a conversation, ask someone for help, find another solution? You don't have to make life-changing decisions straight away, but you can work step by step towards the state that would satisfy you.
A certain person in my life always says when I complain or get upset about something, “Change something or stop complaining.” Even though that's the last thing I want to hear in these situations, I know it's true. This sentence brings me back down to earth and I remind myself that I am not a victim of circumstances. I can do something to change the situation. And if that's not possible straight away, then I can leave her. Or simply accept that everything doesn't always work out exactly as we imagine.
Finally, I would like to illustrate the concept with an example. I deliberately picked out an everyday, “small”, not too serious example to make it clear that you also have some options for dealing with the situation.
The situation: You've been looking forward to your summer vacation for so long - finally out of gray, cold Germany! The day before you leave, check your weather app and see that rain and storms are forecast for the exact time you will be in the warm place.
“It was clear that this would happen. Something like this always happens to me. I can never be lucky even once. Now I don't feel like going on vacation anymore. All planned activities cannot take place like this…” STOP. Remember the phrase “Love it, leave it, or change it.” Let's start at the back:
Change it .
You can't change the weather - because it is the weather. What you can actually do is adapt your activities to the weather. What things can you experience and see that you would never have known if you had just been outside?
Leave it .
Of course, you could escape the situation by not going on vacation (but who does that 😆). But you could also just let the situation be , accept it and let it come to you. Who knows, maybe the weather will change its mind?
Love it .
Often the most difficult option. "I don't like rain, so why should I tell myself that I 'love' it when my vacation is overshadowed by bad weather?" Of course, you don't have to pretend that everything is fine, but maybe you can manage not to let that fact completely ruin your mood... Is the weather really everything? Or is there more to the vacation? New impressions, new cultures, new faces, architecture, nature, FREE TIME, being with loved ones... Reset your focus, try to think of all these beautiful things and look forward to them. And then let it go and enjoy your damn vacation! ☺️
If you would like to learn more about healthy eating, mindfulness or sustainability, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .