Barbara Brady is a Life Transitions Coach whom Annice and I met at a recent conference. She helps clients merge the logical, rational, left brain with their intuitive, creative, right brain resulting in more satisfying choices through the combined wisdom of head and heart, and she works with a lot of women over fifty!
We asked her to write a series of articles for the blog on dealing with different types of transitions. Here’s her first! I hope that, if you like it, you will add a comment to let her know! Jane
You feel a vague irritability. Small things that normally don’t bother you, now do. You may find yourself hypersensitive to what people say. Your comments may be tinged with sarcasm or cynicism. You may compare yourself to others, envying their work, creative expression, or happy relationship. You may notice your energy is lower than usual, and things that used to excite you, don’t as much. You may feel restless or distracted:
Discontent has been defined as: “a longing for something better than the present situation” and “showing or experiencing dissatisfaction or restless longing” (www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn). The good news is: discontent is often a warning sign that change is coming, that a transition is imminent. It’s a wake-up call from the spirit, saying, “Hel-looooo! What are we doing here? (In this relationship, job, situation, etc). Something needs to change!” It’s a message that something in your life isn’t working.
This discontent that is tugging at your sleeve needs to be thanked and attended to. It’s a sign that you’re on a trajectory that you don’t want to stay on indefinitely. To be in charge of your life – e.g. at cause, vs. at effect, you need to really make discontent your friend and see what it’s trying to tell you. When you really pay attention and “get it”, you can then proactively make the choice for a transition that will move you forward in the direction you want, in the way you want, with grace.
Discontent is a Blessing
Let’s face it: without discontent, do you think Columbus would have sailed the ocean blue?
Discontent has been the catalyst that’s spurred me on to take risks, despite my fears, including making geographic and career moves that have enriched my life immeasurably. It’s forced me to question and adjust my thinking and level of acceptance and gratitude, especially in relationships.
Contentment is wonderful, BUT it can imply complacency. Where would the world be if the following people had been complacent: Moses, Jesus, Joan of Arc, Abe Lincoln, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, etc. etc?
Five Steps to Transforming Discontent
1. Learn From the Past – What did you do in the past when you’ve felt discontented? What worked and what didn’t work? If you could do it over again, what would you have done differently?
2. Recognize the Signs – Observe what situations or people tend to be present when you’re feeling discontented. Notice also when you’re feeling content, or fulfilled. What’s the difference? Keep a journal and notice the patterns.
3. Question Your Signs – For example, if you find yourself sad or envious when a good friend tells you about his new work, or hobby, ask yourself why. What are you missing in your own life? Is it time to change your line of work, or have more fun?
4. Use Your Discontent – If you’re irritated or frustrated because a situation is different from how you think it should be, realize you have three choices: You can try to change it, you can accept it as it is, or you can walk away. Don’t waste energy complaining. If you really can’t change it and aren’t ready to walk away, work on accepting it as it is, then decide who you want to be (e.g. loving or judgmental) in relationship to that situation.
5. Be Grateful – Befriend discontent! Be open to its teachings.
In the words of Thomas Edison, “Restlessness and discontent are the necessities of progress.”
Barbara’s experience includes more than 12 years coaching individuals and groups on transition issues in life and work, along with helping people release grief that can arise through loss due to any change. She is the author of “Make the Right Move Now: Your Personal Relocation Guide”; is an abstract painter: www.barbarasabstracts.com, and interfaith minister: http://barbarasceremonies.com
Visit her website at www.mycoachbarbara.com and contact her to schedule a complimentary consultation:
Telephone: 828-350-9300 t