The Gift of Discontentment

People spend a lot of time telling us to simply be content. And for good reason. We need to learn the art being fully present so we can appreciate where we’re at in life and what we have. 

But what if that’s not the whole picture? Because you see, I’m thankful for a lot in my life. In fact, being present and full of gratitude is a daily practice for me. However, in spite of this gratitude, I found myself unable to be content; in a perpetual state of longing and wishing for something…else. 

I felt so guilty. I mean, I had a thing going and so many people have it worse than me. How could I dare want for something else or something more? So I stuffed these horrible selfish feelings down as fast as I could. 

The thing is about feelings, is that they are messengers. They’re always here for a purpose. Sometimes that’s to heal us, sometimes it’s to show us where to go and other times they’re there to warn us to run the other way.

What were my feelings of discontentment showing me and why couldn’t I get rid of them? 

You see, I’ve come to have a deep appreciation for discontentment and believe that it’s the sister to gratitude. Gratitude is necessary for us to fully experience the beauty of ourselves, our lives and the people around us. And to be honest, so is discontentment. 

To be content is to be satisfied. Happy to be where you are. Comfortable. Not a bad thing. But what if where you are is hurting you mentally, emotionally, sexually, spiritually or physically? Should you really be satisfied or comfortable? I hope not. 

We all go through times in life where things are “less than perfect”. Maybe you could use a better house, car or would love to have more fun. I’d call that moderate discontentment. No shame if that’s where you’re at. I invite you to get creative and see what’s possible to make those areas in your life more exciting!

But the discontentment I really want to focus on is what I call divine discontent. Divine discontentment is the knot in your stomach, the knowing in the back of your mind, the voice in your heart that’s been persistently trying to get your attention… 

It’s the discontentment that comes from knowing that you need a course correction or that you truly deserve something far better than you’re settling for. You’ve become “content” with the way things are and that’s no longer acceptable.

Because your mind is tired. 

Your body is weak. 

Your heart is aching.

Your emotions are spent. 

You’re running on fumes trying to make things work and you’re desperate for respite. 

Diving discontentment is a feeling - or state really - that I believe should be celebrated. Think of it as a long lost friend that comes to visit every so often to simply let you know that something really good is about to happen for you - if you’re ready. You sit there with her as she tells you all that could happen and you get a bubbling sense of excitement in your belly that rises into your heart. “Really?”, you think. “That’s really what could happen? Oh that would be amazing.” You’d feel this sense of relief wash over you. This sense of overwhelming hope. This preliminary gratitude for what’s waiting to be part of your life. 

Divine discontentment could then be celebrated as an invitation into what you’re more deserving of - into what’s better, more beautiful, more healthy and more fulfilling for you. 

That was the lesson I learned through my own discontentment. Once I moved beyond the “guilt” I was supposed to feel, I was able to see a bigger picture - that I wasn’t meant to feel burnt out and emotionally raw, but vibrant, energized and excited to be alive….and this divine discontentment was my invitation to make the change. 

Friend, embrace your discontent. Let it speak to you. What’s it showing you? What is it inviting you to do or to be? 

What will things be like if you accept the invitation? 

What will they be if you don’t?