“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” —John Henry Jowet
A grateful heart is a contented heart. A contented heart is a simple heart. And a simple heart leads to a simplified life.
Gratitude opens the door to simplicity. A person who is grateful for the things they own will care for them, enjoy them, and waste less energy seeking more. They will experience fulfillment in the gifts they already possess rather than looking outside themselves for more.
But we live in a culture that preaches discontent. A consumer culture will always attack gratitude—if they can sow discontent in our lives, they can sell us their new product line or latest version with new improvements.
In contrast, those who can find gratitude in their current existence will be less influenced by those empty promises.
How can we find gratitude in a world that seeks to destroy it?
1. Intentionally choose it. Gratitude will never be a result of your next purchase, success, or accomplishment. It is available in your heart right now. And you will never find gratitude in life until you intentionally decide to choose it.
2. Count your blessings. A new day, a warm bed, a loving spouse, a child in your life, a unique personality, or a special talent… You have wonderful things in your life already. Gratitude quickly sets in when we begin to spend a quiet moment each day remembering them. This practice alone has the potential to change your heart and life immeasurably.
3. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Too many people never realize gratitude because they spend so much mental energy focused on what they don’t have. Throw away catalogs and advertisements that inevitably promise you more fulfillment and joy in life. Those things are not sold in stores—never have been, never will be.
4. Embrace humility. Humility is an essential ingredient in gratitude. A humble heart finds satisfaction in the gifts it already possesses and demands less from others and life. Remember that no matter what your accomplishments, your life contains no more inherent value than the person sitting next to you… no matter where you may be sitting.
5. Open your eyes to those with less. Almost half the world, over three billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Let those facts sink in for just a moment—and slowly allow gratitude and a desire to become part of the solution to take their place.
6. Find gratitude in difficulty. It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. It can be more difficult during the trials of life: death, disease, rejection, or failure. The truth is that no one is exempt from the trials of life, but good can always be found in even the worst of times. And embracing gratitude during those trials may be the one thing that gets you through them.
In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. And that gratefulness always leads to a satisfied, simplified life.