Gratitude is the crux of minimalism. Since minimalism is being satisfied and content with where you are at in the moment, there must be a deep sense of gratitude. In a society revolving around consumerism and insecurity there is often little room for gratitude. When the world says you must acquire or achieve more to be happy, it is easy to get caught up in the rush to attain it.What people should do is slow down.
Gratitude is not merely being happy with what you own. It is the view of your past and current situation as well. It is allowing yourself to breathe. Here is an example.
I had to travel to my hometown to pick up my car that was being fixed. On the drive back, there was a snowstorm, and I was also stuck between two semis. On top of this, my music CD wasn’t working so I was without my music. This was very frustrating at first. Then I realized how nice it is to have a stretch of silence and how pretty the snow was driving through the countryside. I thought to myself that I could use this time to focus on my breathing and practice mindfulness. I also visualized how I would put my New Year goals into practice. What could have been a rage-inducing hindrance turned to a mini retreat. It’s about perspective.
I have not had the most fortunate life. I was abused as a child, coming from a broken home. I also battled with a slew of addiction for several years. Now that I am recovered, I find myself to be ok with what had happened. As painful and needless as abuse and addictions are, it made me resilient and rational. I would not be the same person I am now if I had not learned those lessons. I plan on using what I learned to help others. Minimalism eases the pain somewhat, and keeps me grounded in where I am today.
What I do try to tackle the most is being aware of how amazing everything is. The chronic depression I had for seven years closed my eyes to the beauty of the world. I also heavily bought into the consumerist life, which is probably stereotypical as a teenager. Now that I am a minimalist I appreciate everything that I do have.
While there are things I would like to change about my life, I am achieving an inner peace with where I am. I understand that the process of change is wonderful in and of itself. There are no immediate needs in my life, and most are wants.
Consumerism teaches us that wants should be fulfilled immediately, and that having to wait for it is bad. Often this can lead people to acting impulsively, then dealing with negative consequences. Gratitude causes thoughtfulness of what you must have to be happy. Being thoughtful of wants versus needs makes an impact in the long-run. It teaches rationalization, builds patience, and can save you money.
Overall, minimalism and gratitude are intertwined and fuel each other. If you are worried about starting a minimalist lifestyle, then just start by keeping a gratitude log. For the next thirty days write down one thing you are grateful for. Refer to it often, then reconsider your present life.