26 Sep Never-enough thinking
Are you a never-enough thinker?
Do you find it difficult to celebrate a promotion for more than 10 minutes? Do you worry about the future even when a dream comes true? Are you looking for a partner but always feeling that something is ‘missing’?
While we might all experience to some extent the feeling that enough is never enough, for some people, never being satisfied is an underlying feeling that leaves them drained, anxious, restless, constantly worried and unsettled.
In When is Enough, Enough – What you can do if you never feel satisfied, Laurie Ashner and Mitch Meyerson identified 11 typical characteristics amongst people who never feel satisfied:
- Success does not bring joy but a question: ‘Can I do it again?’
- Oscillating between feeling talented and wondering ‘Who do I think I am?’
- Feeling that your efforts are insufficiently recognised while being uncomfortable and suspicious at any compliment.
- Feeling of being left behind while others less talented achieve success.
- Feeling that being ‘an average success’ is a failure rather than an achievement.
- A tendency to blame yourself more than others when something goes wrong.
- A habit to put yourself in situations where you have to prove yourself.
- A tendency to ‘re-create past disappointments’
- Minimising the feeling of depression when you think about your life.
- Finding security in ‘outward support systems’ (money, job security, networks)
- An addiction to ‘striving and to emotional frustration.
While the authors recognise that chronic dissatisfaction is no easy endeavour to curb, their research shows that recovery is possible and requires a total shift in perspective, starting with:
- Understanding that there is a very good reason why you haven’t solved this issue in the past.
- Allowing yourself to feel your emotions, to see and feel the truth, so that you can start recovering.
- Stopping doing the same thing again and again when it is obviously not working. Question that narrative and challenge your beliefs.
- Stopping telling yourself that you expect too much of life. Chances are you expect too little and that you lack a vision.
- Being ready to confront the issue and the struggle that create your never-enough thinking.
If you recognise yourself in these characteristics and the pattern of thoughts of a never-enough thinker, take a moment to observe how it feels to label this recurring discontent.
- What comes to your mind?
- What are you telling yourself?
- What do you feel in your body?
- How are you reacting?
Sitting with the images, words, thoughts and emotions that are coming to your mind is the first step towards turning down the volume of that never-enough thinking. Exploring your feelings and thoughts, with curiosity and without judgement, is the first step towards minimising the power of that inner voice.