It’s a blessing — and a curse — to be satisfied with so little.
A blessing because it makes it relatively easy for me to be happy. I can thrive in environments that other people would suffer in. When I was taking medical classes back in the day, I used to joke that I was basically Helicobacter pylori. Funny little organism, H. pylori. These are the bacteria that cause ulcers. It’s astonishing that anything can survive in the stomach, since it’s such an acidic environment, but H. pylori loves it. They love this crazy place that other things can’t live.
I’m that way, too. I spent years in what were clearly terrible situations, bad relationships, and I still managed to find some happiness there. Even if it were largely self-created and something that I had to fiercely guard from others, lest they find a way to undo it.
The curse is that not everyone is satisfied with so little. In fact, most people aren’t. Instead, their dissatisfaction and desire for more tends to stay the same, even as their personal circumstances improve. And whenever I get close to people, I’ll inevitably find that no matter what they currently have, they want more.
And if I’m what they currently have, I’ll never be enough. It always seems like I end up in situations where I seem more satisfied with people than they do with me. Even in situations where I’m doing all the work — financial, domestic, emotional, and otherwise — it’ll seem like I am more grateful for whatever it is they’re giving me than they are for what I give them.
Because it’s easy to exceed low expectations. Impossible to meet ever-expanding ones.
That’s the reason that I’ve had to learn to lean into my own satisfaction and to not take other people’s satisfaction (or lack thereof) as a simple reflection of my own worth. Rather, it’s a complex internal calculation that goes on within them, affected by myriad variables that have nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.
Not always easy to remember. But worth trying to.