Gratitude from Having Less

The gratitude that comes from having fewer possessions is unusual to the human mind. Throughout most of history, more has meant more – more affluent, more secure, more important. Today more doesn’t always equal more. Sometimes less is more. Our things and all worldly possessions can fit in this second category – less is more. I experienced this firsthand. 

After the last round of decluttering, my house is left pretty empty. Not yet where I would like it to be, but it’s progress. While lying in bed, surrounded only by a few meaningful things, I experienced a strange new feeling. For some reason, I was filled with gratitude for all the things I still had.

It’s something I haven’t felt in a long time (when it comes to material things ofc), and certainly not something I felt when I was always buying more. Back then, I had always been preoccupied with what I didn’t have, so I never even thought about being grateful for the things that I did have. 

And I had a lot. Everything I wanted. But all those things actually blocked my gratitude.

Gratitude Emerges When We Have Less

When my life and house were filled with all the things I had, they blocked my gratitude. Not only did I not feel grateful for everything I had, but I also became stressed about the things I had. Our things don’t just exist, they are alive, and they send us silent messages. And the more we neglect them, the stronger and louder messages will be. I didn’t have enough time to care for all of them, and they were rebelling against me. Causing stress and more discontent every time I laid my eyes on them.

But then, as I was removing stuff from my life, a tiny worm of gratitude started emerging in my life. And the less I owned, the more grateful I felt. When we choose to own less, we value and appreciate what we own more because what we decide to keep is either special to us or useful. We leave only things that truly add value to our lives. 

Today I am grateful for having a roof over my head that protects me from the elements. I am grateful for my bed where I can sleep peacefully. I am grateful for my bathroom where I can take luxurious baths, for my kitchen where I can experiment with different cuisines and enjoy them with my wife. For an audio system that allows me to listen to all the greatest hits. For a car that can transport me from point A to point B. For a computer that allows me to work and watch amazing new shows and movies, and so on.

Less Stuff = More Gratitude = More Happiness

Removing the excess and unimportant from our lives allows us to acknowledge that we already have enough. And this acknowledgment and appreciation of what we already have bring us a deep sense of gratitude.

Gratitude allows us to see our daily lives with a fresh pair of eyes. We won’t continue to take things for granted if we become aware of our appreciation for them. Gratitude can give us more peace than the stimulation we get by buying something new or increasing our number of possessions. 

Studies have also shown that people who feel more grateful tend to be happier, less stressed, more optimistic, and feel better about their lives in general. 

We can accumulate as much as we like, but without being grateful for what we already have, we will only end up being bored with everything we’ve obtained. 

Count your blessings and be grateful for all of them.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Aesop

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