Feeling a sense of discontent? Try this.
Have you ever experienced a nagging sense of wanting to do something different? Or maybe it’s wanting to live somewhere different, live with someone different, work somewhere different or just create a change in your life. Wanting all of those things are absolutely fine. That kind of desire can give you the momentum to propel yourself to change. I’m talking about a general sense of discontent.
When you have a nagging sense of discontent and you want blanket changes in your life, the answer may be simpler and more accessible than you think. Let me to share a part of my story I don’t talk about very much on the blog.
When I was in an unhappy marriage I yearned for big changes. I truly hoped that by creating changes in our lives, like moving from state to state, it would ease the discontent that I felt. At that time, I couldn’t see how small changes inside my own daily life and shifts in my perspective could add up to a fulfilling life. In my mind the only real changes needed were large external changes. I was really committed to this idea. I moved 13 times in 14 years across five states.
The last move was to a house we purchased in Boise, Idaho. Owning a house had been our marker of happiness. We used to say…”when we own a house, everything will be different. We will be happy, we will have enough money, we will be content, and all our troubles will be behind us.” If you’ve ever owned a house, you know how ridiculous this notion was. We’ve been homeowners before but somehow we blamed that on Kansas City and thought it would be different in Boise.
Obviously, it wasn’t different. If anything, reaching our goal of owning a home made it more clear than ever that the problem was not where we lived, what type of home we lived in, or our neighborhood. The problem was us. And the abuse that was happening inside our home.
I share a lot more of the details about this kind of thinking in my upcoming book “Inner Peace Prescription”. I share the story of leaving our abusive household with two suitcases and my five-year-old daughter. It was then that I begin to learn that our inner thinking creates our external environment.
When I’m feeling discontent in my life, I still automatically go to the place that I need a big external change to ease the discontent. When I say big chance I’m talking about selling my house, moving to Europe, or moving somewhere near the ocean or a lake. Those things might happen at some point in my life. But they won’t happen because I’m trying to ease discontent. It will happen because I’ve made that choice.
Three easy steps to ease discontent
These three simple steps are a great strategy for easing discontent.
- Rest into the present moment. Focus on your breathing, notice the sounds around you and pay attention to any physical sensations you are experiencing. Being in the present moment allows you to release the past and the future. This means you begin to experience what is happening right now. That connection to the present moment allows you to move on to step two.
- Ask yourself what you need. I have made this a part of my regular spiritual practice for many years and I continue to be surprised by the things that I learned I need when I ask myself. In almost every case, when I need is rest, water, or food. When I’m feeling discontent, it’s often because my basic personal needs are not being met. You can do this by simply asking the question of yourself and answering. Journaling can also help to reveal things that you want. If you are looking for some journal prompts, I’d love to offer you my new book of journal prompts which also includes the prologue, introduction and first chapter of my upcoming book “Inner Peace Prescripton” called, “Know Yourself: Journal prompts to help you get in touch with your own inner truth to support fulfillment, inner peace and happiness.” (Click here to be taken to Amazon to view the book)
- Meet your personal needs. If you need to rest, rest. Sometimes this means you actually need to sleep. Sometimes it only means that you need recreation and pleasure. Drink water, unapologetically. You need to drink water to be healthy and if that causes you to use the bathroom more, so be it. If your hungry, eat. Meeting your personal needs is at the core of self-care. If you don’t care for yourself you quite literally cannot care for anyone else.
By following these three steps, you will find your sensation of discontent will begin to ease. It does for me, every time. It may sound silly but sometimes I don’t actually want to sell my house, what I really want is to take a nap.
What simple things can you do to ease your own sense of discontent and add more for filament and joy to your life?