Being content or being grateful for what you have now felt difficult to achieve. I think it’s already a human nature that we always keep asking for more, and not knowing when enough is enough.
I love shopping. It soothes me. I can always come up with reasons why I think I need to get something new, but end up not using it all. I thought I might need it in the future, but in end, I never did. I like having things just for the sake of having (or displaying) it.
Growing up, I move from one place to another. I have to pack my shoes and clothes, unpack it, pack it again, unpack it—it’s never-ending. It’s tiring. That’s when I started to enjoy having less.
I felt proud when I could fit my stuff in one car. It’s either because I have less stuff, or I learned how to pack properly! Kidding aside, the feeling of having one thing to be happy slowly fades. I’d be lying if I tell you I no longer make impulsive decisions, or if I stopped making lists of things that I want to buy in the future. But that stays in the list. Because now…
I’m content with what I have.
I mentioned in this post that I started to live on a budget. I avoid buying things I don’t need. The only material stuff that I spend on now is my skincare because #skincareislife. Hey, I still buy cheap stuff!
Sometimes, I’d envy some people who buy stuff because I want more stuff too. But, every time I plan to buy for myself, I always think “Do I need this?”
It turns out, I don’t. Surprisingly, I don’t feel deprived at all.
How to be content with what you have?
After watching the Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, I had this urge to declutter. The younger me would feel unhappy that I have to let go of my stuff. I would probably focus on the things that I don’t have, so I’m always discontent. Now that I have my own space, I get stressed when I see so much clutter in my apartment. It’s true that clutter drains you of your positive energy!
Being content is defined in different ways. To me, being content means knowing where you are now, and appreciating what you have. I’m contented with what I have now, but it doesn’t mean I just sit on my couch and do nothing.
Being content is not a destination, but a process.
1. Start to be grateful
Don’t ever think about “people have it worse, so I have to be grateful”. We sometimes forget that our accomplishments—whether small or big—matters. What did you do today that made you happy? What are you proud of? What are you thankful for? Who are you thankful to? List it down, or think about it at the end of the day.
It’s not just sheer luck. You wouldn’t be where you are now if it wasn’t for your hard work. Give yourself a little more credit! If you start feeling unhappy, look back on all the good things that happened to your life.
I’m grateful I have the basic needs in my life.
Always remember self-love.
2. Have a goal and live in the moment
My short-term goal is to pay off my debts, and my long-term goal is to support myself and my family to live comfortably—in short, financial freedom. My goals can go side-by-side, but I focus on paying off my debts first. It’s not going to happen in a few months, but having a goal helps. It makes me feel more content with what I have now because I know I’m cooking something big!
I said it before, and I’ll never stop saying this: practice delayed gratification.
I don’t call it sacrifices, and, again, I don’t deprive myself. I still find opportunities to enjoy simple pleasures every day.
3. There’s more to life than possessions
The less I have, the happier I am. I’m becoming more aware of the environment, and I don’t want to contribute to adding more wastes. Recycling is good, but reducing is better. I don’t have the zero-waste and minimalist lifestyle yet, though! I’m doing it slowly, and I need to learn more about it. I want to practice minimalism, but it’s not as easy as you think it is. It needs determination and consistency. Transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle can take years. What’s important is to start now. The rest will follow.
I tried seeking happiness from my possessions, but I don’t think I ever felt fulfilled. It’s temporary, and nothing will ever be enough because I keep asking for more. Instead, I spend money on experiences and build a stronger relationship with my boyfriend, family, friends, and other people.
4. Accept that everything takes time
I don’t like it when people think contentment is a destination. You’re not going to wake up one day and then you’re a millionaire—unless you won the lottery! It takes time to reach your goal financially. It depends on you on how long it’ll take, but you have to start now.
It also takes time to be successful with your career. Don’t disregard your failures because, someday, you’ll be thankful for it. Nobody figured out their lives from the very start. Everything is like a trial and error until you see yourself settling for something that makes you happy.