In the spirit of minimalism, I don’t want to take on too many things. BUT, I do want to start creating useful content that you can find on this website other than just the podcast, since most friends probably listen to the podcast on a platform outside of this space.
So, on this blog space, you’ll find a lot of what you find on the podcast, in written form. You’ll also find some of my micro-blog-like musings that you see via instagram.
I love podcasting, but I’m certainly a writer at heart. I’ve always loved writing, and most of the time, I write something out and have to water it down to fit instagram’s character limit. I’ve been writing a lot lately, with no where to put it, so from time to time, you’ll find it here.
Today’s post is a written form of what you’ll find on this week’s podcast episode. There are several differences, and the episode has a lot more, but I wanted to put some of it out for you in written form, in case you’re more of a reader than a listener.
Last week, I talked to you about getting content with your actual, imperfect homes (on the podcast). Today, I wanted to briefly talk about mindsets that can keep us stuck and unable to feel content, whether that be with our homes, our lives, etc.
I’ve realized, over time, that when I am stuck feeling like I want to make an impulse buy, it means my mind and heart aren’t in the most healthy of places. When I’m feeling discontent, I realize there are certain mindset shifts I need to make to get myself in a better, more content place. I’m sharing three of them with you today, both here on the blog and on today’s podcast episode.
1. Comparison vs. Community
If we’re feeling discontent, we might be comparing ourselves to others a bit too much. Whether we’re discontent in a job we typically enjoy, with our lives, our homes, etc…we might have our eyes on others too often, and in a negative way. Scrolling social media is an easy way to fall into a comparison trap. But, this can also happen in your everyday life- do you compare yourself to family members? Someone you see at the gym? A colleague at work? Sometimes we might not even notice we’re doing it, but we are.
Unfortunately, comparison can lead to jealously, which makes us feel even worse than just plain old comparison. Why can’t we have a bigger house? A nicer car? A more curated closet? We convince ourselves that the other lives we’re looking at must be better than ours because of what they have that we don’t. This doesn’t even take effort, it just tends to naturally happen. We’re conditioned to it. But we can also combat it.
The first way to combat comparison and jealousy is by getting grateful. Gratitude really is the key to contentment, but other things can help- like cheerleading, for example.
Instead of comparing yourself to the people around you, how can you be a cheerleader for them, instead? When we lift one another up, whether that be people we don’t know or our friends/ family who are having maybe what feel like bigger successes than us, we walk towards contentment in our own lives as well. We acknowledge the fact that they can have good, successful things in their lives, we can cheer them on, AND we can have good, successful things in our lives too, which might look very different.
When we cheer someone else on, even if we might not feel like doing it, we add value to their lives and our own lives. We walk towards gratitude, community, kindness, all at once, instead of towards comparison and jealously, which steal our joy.
So, next time you feel like comparing yourself or feeling jealous towards someone, cheer them on instead. Remember that their accomplishments do not subtract value from your life or your accomplishments. And then count up the good things happening in your own life, and fight the urge to compare.
I wrote a little community over comparison manifesto, and I want to share it with you:
Her accomplishments have nothing to do with me.
They do not add or subtract from my worth.
So instead of comparing myself,
I will cheer her on and build her up.
I will choose community over comparison.
Because I believe:
I am enough
My gifts and talents are enough
My home is enough
My people are enough.
And when I choose gratitude and contentment over comparison.
I’ll have the freedom to use my time and energy to cheer others on
and make the world a better place.
This kind of starts to get at my next two points, so let’s move forward.
2. Scarcity vs. Abundance Mindset:
While I’m still learning about scarcity vs. abundance mindset myself, I wanted to mention it because I believe it plays a role in contentment. Please forgive me for my beginner-level knowledge on the subject.
When we have a scarcity mindset, we often can’t be content. With a scarcity mindset, we believe there isn’t enough to go around. That we need to fight to get enough.
This might have us believing that we should store up our possessions and keep accumulating so that we will have enough when it runs out- whatever “it” is.
With this kind of mindset, it is hard to get content. We often feel jealous of what others have in a scarcity mindset, because we believe if they have it, we can’t, or if they have anything good at all in their lives, that takes away from the good we can have.
With a mindset of abundance, we believe that just because we don’t have or accomplish something right now, that doesn’t mean we won’t in the future. Since we believe there is an abundance of good things and an abundance of ways to live well, we don’t compare ourselves to others as much.
We can easily grab ahold of this abundance mindset through looking at the good that’s around us, in our own lives, and through embracing gratitude. Because if we see all the good we have, we’ll probably start to believe there is abundant goodness in the world. And we’ll start to get content, because we don’t have to fight for the good things- we already have them. They are right in front of us.
3. Believing you are enough
The last mindset shift that can help us walk towards contentment is believing we are enough. I talk about this a lot, and it might be confusing to those that don’t already hold this belief- Why? How am I enough? What does this even mean? How do I know this is true?
It’s easy to believe we don’t measure up. We’re human, after all. We make a lot of mistakes day in and day out. At least, I know I do.
But in my specific belief system, as a Christian, I believe I am enough because God says I’m enough. I believe God created us and, in the beginning, called us good. He made us to be fully enough. And while there is more to the story and a lot of failings in between, this is still true of us, even after a history of sin coming into the world. Now, we are enough because God sees us as enough, even though we fall short, because of the sacrifice of Jesus to make this true of us. We are covered in grace, and we are enough, no matter how much we fail.
So, this is my belief- and, again, there is a whole lot more to the story. I just gave a more condensed version than I’d like to give, and I’m happy to talk to you more about it if you’re curious. I share this with you in case you’re wondering what I mean when I say “you are enough,” and where that belief comes from in my particular life.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to believe the same thing as me. I’m not here to force you into believing a certain faith. But I am here to tell you that you are enough, and until you believe that to be true, you’ll probably continue to believe things and titles and promotions and fill-in-the-blank can add to your value.
It’s essential to know and believe that stuff will not add/subtract from your value. You are enough, just as you are, no matter if you believe the same thing as me ore not.
To be content with what you have, you must believe that what you have does not add or subtract from who you are.
4. A Gratitude Practice:
When it comes to contentment, consistent work on shifting your mindset is a key way to get there. But the mindset that is an umbrella over all three of the mindset shifts I’ve mentioned? Gratitude.
I know it’s overly-talked about. I even talked about it last week on the podcast when I talked about getting content with your actual home. But it’s overly talked about for a reason- it works.
If you can consistently, daily, get grateful for the beautiful people and things in your life that are there already, you’ll be less likely to fill yourself up with impulse purchases and stuff you don’t need.
A gratitude practice is called a practice for a reason- you need to do it often. You need to practice it. For whatever reason, it doesn’t come naturally for most of us.
So, start today. It’s not too late, even if you’re reading this at 10pm. Jot down three specific things you’re grateful for (or more). Do it again in the morning, and every morning after.
Gratitude, paired with the other mindset shifts I’ve mentioned, will really change the way you view your home, your life, your people. It will help you continue to move towards contentment in your everyday life, and in turn, you’ll stop filling your life up with things, and find room in your life for what matters to you.
And a life filled up with what matters? That’s the kind of life easy to be content with.
You’ll find thoughts like this and much more, including an interview with Diane Boden of The Minimalist Mom’s Podcast in today’s podcast episode. I hope to chat with you there!