I love the concept of satisfaction. I learned to inquire about this feeling and the difference between satisfaction and fullness, following my training in the ME-CL course with Jan Chozen Bays and Char Wilkins.
It is one of the concepts that has most helped me take care of myself and that most helps my patients in my observation.
Are you full or satisfied?
- Fullness is a physical sensation, a measurement of volume and how much the stomach is stretched. Fullness is related to being aware of what we call “Stomach Hunger.” Stomach hunger is satisfied by (the right amount of) food.
- Satisfaction is an emotional feeling, a feeling of contentment or inner peace. Satisfaction is related to what we call “Heart Hunger.” Heart hunger is satisfied by feelings of connection, intimacy and simple happiness.
Personally, I experience satisfaction when I allow things to be as they are, when I stop pursuing something that is in front of me and that I can never reach.
Dissatisfaction is a feeling that often leads to emotional eating.
Dissatisfaction has haunted me since I can remember, and for many years led me to practice unhealthy behaviors with food, alcohol and even with personal relationships, looking for fullness instead of satisfaction.
For me, dissatisfaction is a feeling of not being enough– not a good enough mother, daughter, professional, not knowing enough, etc. … that I lack something that I have to chase in order to fill it in some way, whatever that may be.
I visualize my dissatisfaction as a beast inside me, a fierce and hungry beast, begging and demanding in the form of a roar or a scratching feeling in my gut. When I was a young girl, I learned quickly to silence the beast by sneaking croissants and cookies, but the tranquility was short-lived because guilt and shame always awakened my beast again.
It was not until I discovered mindfulness, mindful eating and compassion that I was able to look my beast in the eyes. Since then I have learned to be present with all my emotions, my thoughts and beliefs, with acceptance and without judgment, and to make room for everything that was emerging with compassion and kindness, and it was then that the beast began to feel calmer.
Recognizing my “not enough” beast
Nowadays I know my beast pretty well, and I know what makes it nervous. That old acquaintance, the “not enough,” continues to appear in multiple forms. Lately, it has leaded me to buy books about mindfulness and compassion because, of course, I never know enough. As I read them in an eBook format, I do not even realize that I have already pressed the “buy”-button, when in reality I still have three or four books waiting to be read.
But now I have awareness as my friend and I have learned to stop, and then I approach my beast, I look into it eyes and I say: “Hello buddy, here you are again, what do you want to tell me this time? Is there something I have to attend to especially? Or maybe it’s something I have to let go?”
Nourishing myself emotionally leads to feeling satisfied.
To experience satisfaction I have had to learn to nourish one side and let go of the other. That is, I have had to learn to accept myself as enough as I am, and let go of thinking that I am never enough.
For me satisfaction is that balance between enough and too much: It is the place between too much food, too many books, too much alcohol…. and trying to fill that “I’m not enough” heart hunger.
I associate satisfaction with self-acceptance, self-trust, patience and self-respect. The practice of mindfulness and compassion have all helped me to achieve this. When I sit on my meditation cushion to be with my thoughts, physical sensations and emotions and I give them space with acceptance and without judgment, I can let go of the thought of not being enough, giving myself compassion and nourishing myself emotionally. That’s when my beast calms down.
Now my beast is much quieter, it no longer roars, but I sometimes I still find her striding nervously inside, searching. She’s not ravenous any more, but she still asks me for food. Then I sit down to ask to her compassionately: “I know you are here to help me. What do you want to tell me? What do I need to attend to at this time? What do I need to release at this time? What do I need to nourish?”
And you, have you experienced the difference between satisfaction and fullness?
Do you also have an internal beast that prevents you from feeling satisfaction?
Mireia Hurtado, Spain