A Holistic Approach to Satisfaction

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In today’s world, it’s atypical to find someone, especially my age, to be “off the grid.” To be off the grid is to be off the internet- AKA no social media. While I admire those who haven’t succumbed to the pressure of over-posting, I think the benefits of social media outweigh the negatives and I have chosen to remain on the grid.

However, I think the mindless scrolling, the ability to instantly upload from anywhere, and the tendency to compare ourselves to those we see on our screens leads to a constant longing for more. And how can we ever feel satisfied if we are always seeking something more than what we have?

Sure, there’s fleeting satisfaction- getting a good grade on something I studied hard for, receiving positive feedback at work, and feeling confident after I finish getting ready. Notice all these things have to do with one person: me. I believe comparison to others leads to dissatisfaction. 

To be satisfied is to be fulfilled, to have expectations met. Comparison kills this by challenging our expectations. A quote I try to remember is

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I’ll lay in bed after work, feeling content with my day and ready to relax. Then I open my phone to Instagram. I scroll through my feed, mostly spring break pictures (I don’t get a spring break- feel slightly envious). I switch to LinkedIn, where I see my peers’ posts about securing internships. I congratulate a few, before coming across someone with the same major as me who won an award for research on a global initiative project (first, I think, wow. Then, I think, sh*t. Why didn’t I do that?). The seeds of dissatisfaction have been planted. 

I reflect. I chose to stay at my internship for the week instead of going on spring break, a decision I made by myself with no hesitation. My global medicine internship, which I worked so hard to secure this time last year. My internship has exceeded my standards and given me a plethora of unique international experience to add to my professional resume.

I think of satisfaction holistically by tracing the root of it. Particularly, if I feel myself craving more, I reflect on what I’m missing in my life that is leaving this non-stop hunger for something better. I’m not saying that the desire for something better implicitly leads to dissatisfaction. In fact, I find that it’s a great way to expand my goals and evaluate the present moment. However, it is important to remember that just because someone else has something or has done something that I haven’t, doesn’t make my accomplishments or interests any less gratifying.

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