Are You Discontent? A Transition May Be Imminent!

Barbara Brady

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:

“It’s getting to the point where I am no fun anymore, I am sorry.” –“Judy Blue Eyes,” Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Discontent has been defined as: “a longing for something better than the present situation” and “showing or experiencing dissatisfaction or restless longing” (  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:, and interfaith minister:


Visit her website at and contact her to schedule a complimentary consultation:

Telephone: 828-350-9300 t



5 thoughts on “Are You Discontent? A Transition May Be Imminent!

  1. Thanks Barbara for the reminder in the form of your post, that creativity is the cure for discontent. How easy it is to NOT pick up the brush. Especially in this day and age of everything FB. Being a big fan of Oops50, I look forward to future posts from you.

  2. Hi Monica,

    I applaud you for having the courage to be true to yourself and follow the call to leave the group you were with. I’ve found when I’m discontent and not doing anything about it, it’s often because I’m feeling the conflict between wanting to be authentic and true to myself and at the same time not wanting to disappoint others or have them be upset with me. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to be true to ourselves. As long as we’re living life to please others, we’re creating oiur own prison, and we’ll never live to our highest potential or be as happy or fully expressed as we could be. In the words of Ricky Nelson from the song “Garden Party”: “…ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.”

  3. Hi Sadhvi, Thanks for your comment and question. My answer is YES! When I feel discontent, I look at where I’ve been spending my time, to see what might be missing. Often, it’s creative expression. When I make the time to express myself creatively, whether through abstract painting, creative writing, cooking or dance, I immediately feel grounded and connected to myself, as well as to the divine, so that I lose self-consciousness and feel at one with whatever I’m doing and get into that flow state that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about in his book “Flow”. It feels like I’m nourishing my soul, and I feel quite content! I hope that answers your question?

  4. Relevant post that provided a bit of clarity for my situation: I was discontent and knew for years that I wanted to move out of a group I was engaged with; it was no longer serving my needs, but it took me 3 years to have the courage to move on; I just couldn’t announce the change, even though every meeting was a chore (or I’d come up with an excuse not to attend). I wasted energy complaining (to myself) because of the FEAR to make an exit. Thanks Barbara; I look forward to your next post.

  5. An interesting take on the Menopause years for sure! I look forward to reading what Barbara has to say next! I would also like to hear more about her creative process…if that helps her discontentment at all?

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