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“Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Society tells us that we should count our blessings. We should have gratitude journals and focus on all that we have.  And that is all good.  We should feel grateful for what we’ve been given.

But as the quote above indicates, there is nothing wrong with “healthy discontent.” Healthy discontent is what motivates us to improve ourselves and our circumstances.

Without that nagging feeling that life could be (and should be) better, it is easy to stagnate. That nagging feeling is what propels us to improve our health, our relationships and our careers.  That discomfort is what drives us out of our comfort zones to make positive change in our lives.

I always have a certain level of discomfort. That discomfort drives me to work hard at my job.  I don’t just want to remain where I am.  Professionally, I want to keep getting better.  Likewise, I always have a certain amount of discontent about my home.  That drives me to always try to improve it by making it more functional or aesthetically pleasing.

My feelings of discontent about my job and my home don’t mean that I don’t appreciate them. It is an incredible blessing to be able to work and be paid for one’s efforts.  That is no small thing.  Similarly, if you live in a safe place, with running water, heat and air conditioning, you are incredibly fortunate.  These are not things to be taken for granted.

However, at the same time that we are grateful for what we have now, we also should be striving to improve. God gives us resources and talents not only to be used, but to be grown.

So, if you happen to be good at playing the piano, God’s intention is for you to continually improve your skills. If you have been blessed with a home, God expects you to care for it, and to continually work at making it a lovelier place for you and others to enjoy.

The same holds true for our personal development. If you have areas in your personality that need improvement, your attitude shouldn’t be, “Well, I am who I am.”  You should want to constantly be improving.

For instance, I can be very impatient. And I feel discomfort about that character flaw.  As a result, I work hard to try to overcome that flaw by at least not expressing my feelings of irritation simply because I have them.  I know that this is an area in which I need to improve, and I’m not willing to just remain the same.

When we feel discontent about ourselves, as I do with my issue with impatience, we have to be honest with ourselves. It is easy to make excuses for our bad behavior, and to push the discontent about our character flaws down.  But we need to face our discontent head on and say to ourselves, “I am not perfect, and I need to work on this.”

I would argue that when we feel “healthy discontent” that is God speaking to us. God is saying to us, “This needs to improve.  You can do better than this.”

This week, consider whether you have a healthy discontent in your life. Have you become so settled in your job or your relationships that you don’t see regular improvement? Does your home and financial situation remain the same from year to year?  Do you have a character flaw that you wish you didn’t have?  If so, you may feel a nagging pull to create healthy change in your life.  Don’t ignore it.  Take steps to address your areas of discontent and keep improving your life every day.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

My book, The Secrets to Success for the Working Mother, is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.  If you purchase a copy, please consider writing a review.  I would be delighted to hear your feedback!

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