Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted December 10, 2023

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Satisfaction is an elusive goal


by Annmuma

Satisfaction Contest Winner 

When I first looked at this contest subject, it seemed like a simple challenge.  My response was, “ I am in the sunset of my life! Of course, I’m satisfied!” and then I began to really examine the subject.

I had not been married to my late husband for long before I observed one of his ‘Self-Check’ sessions.   He sat with paper and pencil, scribbled some words for a few minutes, then crushed the paper, threw it away and went about his business.   I was puzzled.

“What’s the deal, Randall?  What are you doing?”

“A Self-Check.”

“A what?”

“Sometimes I have a day that I’m not sure my behavior matched my intentions.  So, I list those intentions, think about the circumstances and either check them off as accomplished or remind myself to be more careful in the future. Then I toss the concern in the trash.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Suppose I had a run in with a waitress today or a disagreement with my daughter or whatever, I might still be upset tonight.  Rather than stew about it, I would sit down and list my objectives.  They always include compassion, patience and understanding, along with getting my point across.  By taking a second hard look, I can see both my failures and my successes.  The tension is gone and maybe I learned something.”

He laughed.  “You think I am crazy, don’t you?   I used to have quite a temper, but it never seemed as if I won many battles and I was always upset with something or someone.  An old boss at TXU told me about ‘Self-Checks’.   I’ve just gotten into the habit over the last many years.”

“No, I don’t think you are crazy and you are probably the most patient man I’ve ever met.  Maybe they work.”

That scene came to mind as I thought about whether I am satisfied with who I am or not.  I am certainly happy, healthy, financially okay and I have a super family.  But, is that all I wanted in life?  Have I done my best in all areas?”

I decided to do a ‘self-check’ of my own.  I ran down a mental list of personal goals to determine which ones have been accomplished and which one are left needing attention.  I am not talking about career goals or even family goals– those have been accomplished.  I’ve had some disappointments and few challenges, but I am grateful for those as they provided opportunities for growth and for learning.  As we all have, I’ve experienced times of great joy and times of great sadness.  That is life; that is the path we have chosen to walk and oftentimes, we have no control over the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

I am talking about personal attributes, the ones we will likely face when we meet our Maker.  So, I got out my own list of hopes and dreams as to who I wanted to be.  I checked my mental list to determine where I was satisfied and the ones requiring some attention.   I held myself up against the character traits I wanted and those I exhibited.

I pulled out my compassion and tolerance compass and found it slightly off north. There was too much elbow room between honesty and integrity. I discovered that forgiveness – including forgiveness of myself- had slid a little to the right. It was evident that too much of the time originally allotted to the ‘thank you’ jurisdiction had been claimed by the ‘I want’ department.  Sometimes the opportunities to be kind were ignored and compassion was set aside for expediency.

As I worked through my list, I was reminded of the Robert Burns' poem To a Louse and the lines I love so much: 

                                      O wad some Power the giftie gie us

                                      To see oursels as ithers see us!

                             It wad from many a blunder free us.

My conclusion is:  I am happy, but I can never be totally satisfied because I am still a work in progress.  As strange as it sounds, I am satisfied with being unsatisfied. Growth and working toward being a better person is satisfaction.  Reaching a goal of perfection does not happen on this side, but working toward it creates a satisfying journey.

Contest Winner



I have been greatly blessed and unbelievably lucky in life. With that, I am satisfied - I am still working toward deserving it by sharing kindnesses and compassion. I am far from reaching that goal.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by henryjackson at

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