It can seem like minimalism actually breeds ingratitude. After all, a minimalist mindset shifts our focus away from acquiring more things and onto non-material things. When we desperately want to simplify and declutter our homes, it is easy to forget to be grateful for the things we have. But ultimately, minimalism leads to more gratitude…as long as you have the right mindset.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is seeing what’s there instead of what isn’t. Gratitude means appreciating it all, the small things in your life, as well as the big things. You can appreciate that have you own more than you actually need. And, you can appreciate the things you don’t need but bring you a tremendous amount of joy (say, a photo album from a family trip).
Gratitude is being thankful. Gratitude means being thankful for what you have and showing that gratefulness towards others. When you are grateful for your coffee mug, you take good care of it. You wash it, protect it from chipping, you put it in a safe place, and you enjoy it with a hot cup of coffee.
When you are thankful for the people in your life, you prioritize time with them, you honor them, and you enjoy them. You recognize that without these special people, your life would not be the same.
Gratitude is a choice. It’s something you can decide to do. You can choose to be grateful. Gratitude happens naturally, albeit sometimes slowly, when you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t. So, choose to focus on what you have. Choose to focus on what is right in front of you. Choose to focus on now.
Gratitude is something that you can make a part of your everyday life by creating a gratitude practice. You can practice gratitude in much the same way you could practice writing or figure skating. It takes time, it takes dedication, it takes making it a priority. However, if you don’t see the importance of gratitude, you will never give it the attention it deserves.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Here are 3 reasons you should practice gratitude:
1. Gratitude allows you to experience joy. Life is passing you by, and you are missing it! Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life. You can’t enjoy this moment if your mind and heart are in the next. Being grateful will help you find satisfaction each and every day.
2. Gratitude changes your attitude. Gratitude pushes out bitterness, resentment, and jealousy. Instead of seeing what others have, you will see what others need. You will want to give back. You will want to show your appreciation in any way that you can.
3. Gratitude leads to contentment. Eventually, you will be content with what you have—with your current status, money, possessions, relationships. This doesn’t mean that you will be happy with poor spending habits, excessive possessions, or broken relationships. But, it does mean that you will be able to see past the brokenness, and the imperfectness, to see what good is there.
You have money, you have possessions, you have relationships. These are all good. And, you will be in the right mindset to put in the effort to make those imperfect things better!
The Right Minimalist Mindset for Gratitude
Minimalism leads to more gratitude, but the difference between a minimalist who’s thankful for what they have and a minimalist who is ungrateful has a lot to do with their perspective. Minimalism is about minimizing clutter SO THAT you can live the life that you want. Those who focus on the life they want, rather than the clutter holding them back, are able to be more grateful.
Let me put it another way…
If you look around your house and see nothing of value, only items that are holding you back in life, then it will be really difficult for you to be thankful for what you have. But, if you look around your house and you see a few items that really make you smile, you will actually declutter your home out of gratitude for those things!
The key is to have a minimalist mindset that focuses on the things in your life that are of value to you. It’s about having the perspective that you only get one life, so you’re going to do what you can to live it well. When you have this mindset, there isn’t much that can hold you back…from decluttering or anything else.
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3 Ways Minimalism Leads to More Gratitude
With the right mindset, minimalism leads to more gratitude in your life in three key ways:
1. Minimalism changes our mindset. Most of us aren’t a straight-up minimalist over night. As we adopt a more minimalist lifestyle and mindset, it continually changes the way we think. Slowly over time, our perspectives of “enough” and “value” changes. And with that mindset shift, the ways we choose to put minimalism into practice changes.
So, minimalism leads to more gratitude in that our mindset goes from “I need more of x, y, or z to be happy” to “What I have already is enough.” That’s not to say that we will never want some area of life to be different, but our happiness won’t be dependent on that change happening.
2. Minimalism helps us see what has value. Once minimalism starts changing our mindset of how much is enough, it helps us see what is adding value to our lives. We can see, for example, that out of all of our clothing, we truly enjoy only a fraction of it. Or, we can see that this one amazing friend of ours needs to be made more of a priority in our lives.
Minimalism leads to more gratitude in that we can actually see how much we have to be grateful for in our lives. When our homes, schedules, and minds aren’t filled with clutter, we can more easily prioritize and take good care of all that’s important to us.
3. Minimalism teaches us new habits. Practicing minimalism actually trains us to be different. Every time we choose to rearrange our decorations instead of buying more…every time we choose to invest in our relationships instead of complaining about them…we are creating new habits that help us find contentment.
Over time, these choices get easier and easier. We keep practicing contentment and focus on having a life of “enough”. And eventually, this practice of minimalism leads to more gratitude in all areas of your life.
Ultimately, minimalism leads to more gratitude for all that is valuable in your life. When you make an intentional decision to be content every day, you can experience more joy and get more out of life than ever before.
Do you think minimalism leads to gratitude or ingratitude? Share with us in the comments!