There are two kinds of discontentment in the world. The first is the kind that makes you feel a little worthless, a little too stressed, a little anxious about anything and everything. And then there is the kind of discontentment that demands self-reflection, honest conversations and possible change in your life. Both are necessary parts of the human experience and both demand that you take a moment to reflect and evaluate what you love and what is missing in your life. For me, the last several months have involved looking at the places where I am wanting more/different in my life and trying to figure out which version is ruling my life: the healthy discontent that requires me to think or the unhealthy version that leaves to self-loathing and feeling lost in a crazy world.
I think, now that I have been able to look at it a little more objectively, it is/was a little of both. Some of my discontentment came from the very real fact that I was very unhappy with my physical self. I didn't like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I didn't like the way I felt about my body, my face, etc. I didn't want pictures taken, and I didn't do much to make myself feel better. So, the first step was to address that discontent. I knew I could do something about it. So, I did. Now, 26 pounds lighter, I am starting to find my physical self again. I still have more weight I'd like to lose (depending on the day anywhere from 20-30 pounds), but I feel in control. Yes, I make poor choices sometimes still. But those poor choices are not ruining my month, week or even day. One sugary drink will not kill the progress I've made. And, knowing that I feel different about weight loss this time means that I'm approaching every choice as a lifestyle decision, not just a comfort-food decision.
Check. One thing slowly coming off the list.
The rest of my discontentment? It's a stirring in my heart to be more, to serve more, to look beyond myself and figure out my place in the world. At 33, I'm finally starting to figure out what makes me the happiest and where I feel fulfilled and excited. This sense of longing and wanting to change comes from knowing that I have been comfortable too long. And, comfort can make a person lazy and confined to the walls they create around themselves. So, I'm evaluating that discontent feeling. Here are the questions I'm asking myself to determine if my discontentment is healthy or unhealthy:
- What is making me discontent?
- What am I doing to change my circumstances?
- Am I letting stress take too much control of my life?
- Am I seeking change because it's time or because I'm bored?
- Is my discontent coming from something internal or something external?
- What am I already doing to address the issues before making a big change?
- Will change solve the underlying problem, or is it a heart-issue?
- Have I voiced my concerns out loud to the right people?
- How do I define content anyway?
- Is content my ultimate goal? Or is it something deeper?
- If I could do anything, be anyone, how would I answer the question "what's next?"
- Is fear keeping me from addressing my discontent?
What questions do you think I should ask?