Minimalism

4 Things Simplifying Has Taught Me about Gratitude

November 23, 2016

Just in time for Thanksgiving, this is a beautiful guest post written by my friend Lisa from Creative Holistic Home.

Starting out, I didn’t expect gratitude to become a large part of my simplifying message. I was focused on getting rid of clutter and saying no to more events and saying yes to my family and self care. I wanted a simple life in which I could enjoy more space, more time, more money, and more experiences.

It’s pretty close to what I’d guess most want when simplifying life. I just didn’t count on what would come next.

Simplifying life cuts everything except what truly brings love, joy, and life so that we can appreciate them for everything they were meant to be.

Sometimes simplifying gets messy. There is a hard truth about simple living – it’s not always simple! It is making difficult decisions and protecting what’s most important when those around you might not understand.

In those early months I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. Was the negative space in my life going to produce something of value? Would my kids miss out of something? Is taking so much out of our lives traumatizing them in some deep psychological way?

I’m happy to report that I don’t worry about those things much anymore. In fact, I can deny that any of those concerns are valid. Because what started welling up in my soul soon after those doubts was a gratitude that seemed new somehow – like I had tapped into a new well of thanksgiving which transformed how I viewed my new simple life.

Letting go of so many things, physical and emotional, laid bare the things I cared for most.

You see, simplifying life cuts everything except what truly brings love, joy, and life so that we can appreciate them for everything they were meant to be.

Not for sitting pretty on the shelf. Not for drawing ohs and ahhs out of our friends. Not for filling the holes of a broken heart. But for true beauty and light. This is where gratitude begins.

In my own journey of simplifying, I have learned the shortest path to simplicity is gratitude. Simple will inspire gratitude every time, every day.

Here are 4 things simplifying has taught me about gratitude:

1. IT’S HARD TO RUN OUT OF THINGS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR

As we turn our hearts toward gratitude, our eyes adjust to the reality of the beauty around us.

That sunset becomes the most beautiful of your life, every single time.

The taste of those homegrown tomatoes- the best you’ve ever tasted, every single time.

The way my baby girl’s face lights up when I walk in her room at dawn – ugh, I can’t handle it, every single time!

Gratitude is how joy enters your soul and rises like the steam from your morning coffee, which by the way, is the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had – every single morning!

2. IT’S EASY TO BE THE MOST POSITIVE PERSON IN THE ROOM

What would your life look like if you really lived with a heart turned toward gratitude? I believe you would be the most positive person in most of the rooms you walk into. Because, to see the world with the eyes of gratitude is to see the goodness, kindness, and beauty above all the things that keep everyone else preoccupied.

There is no judgment or comparison in gratitude. No reason to criticize or gossip. Light up every room with gratitude and you can change the atmosphere entirely.

3. TRUE GRATITUDE IS FOLLOWED BY ACTION

Being grateful can transform your inner life in unexpected ways, but I believe that true gratitude compels us to do something. The most generous people I’ve met and known always carry with them an abundance of gratitude. And the more generous they are, the more gratitude they exude! Not to mention the gratitude they are inspiring in the people receiving the gift.

4. THE BEST GRATITUDE ISN’T FOR THINGS

The more stuff I get rid of the more grateful I am. I am very grateful for the physical things I own – the necessities and the un-necessities – but oh how my heart overflows for the intangible. The laughter of my husband and kids, the tender hug of a friend when my heart aches, the beautiful words I hear when my parents tell me they are proud of me.

The soul of simple living rests in knowing that our things can be taken from our hands, but our joy and love and gratitude can never be taken from our hearts.

I’m learning that to live simply is to live in gratitude. And with gratitude as my compass I know that wherever this simple life takes me, I will be okay.

Lisa Avellan is a wife, mom, writer, holistic health enthusiast, and aspiring minimalist. She blogs at Creative Holistic Home where minimalism isn’t just about stuff; its about soul. She is also the creator of Simple Gratitude, an email course designed to restore genuine gratitude in daily living.

What are you grateful for this year? Has minimalism changed how you feel about gratitude? Let me know in the comments! x

Photo credit: unsplash.com / Used with permission

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  • Tori Rose

    The is so beautifully written and so applicable! Like you’ve said, simplifying can involve difficult decisions, saying ‘no’ and knowing that people won’t always understand. It does teach us so much about gratitude and what to prioritise!

  • Joy

    I have so much. Had a great husband who just died. A beautiful human being. I was not grateful then. Now I look back and know what I have lost and I still feel like I want more.
    I see my gifts..family..food..health at 80 …wonderful friends…I see that all in my intellect but emotionally I feel empty.
    I have faith..I pray….I volunteer..go to a counselor…so I feel as if I am doing all the right things but still….

    • Hi Joy, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Even though I’ve loss people close to me, I can’t begin to imagine how it must feel to lose your husband. Sending hugs …

      And for what it’s worth, give yourself some time. You need to redicsover who you are and it won’t happen overnight.

      All the best to you!

      x Jen