Confession time: I am constantly thinking about what I’d like to buy next. I have a list of skincare products I want to purchase I’m sure will make me look 20 again. It’s spring so of course, I want a whole new wardrobe full of florals and stripes. Did I mention I want a new car? Not brand new, but larger for sure. I also have a million items saved on Facebook marketplace I’m hoping to eventually buy. Oh, and I want a beach house. (As long as we’re being honest here.) But even amid all these desires, I fight for contentment where I am, with what I have today. Here are a few tips I’ve learned how to be content with what you have right now.
How to Be Content With What You Have Now
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Is it any wonder why we desire so many things? We are being bombarded by advertisements not only in commercials but on social media and even discreetly placed in our favorite TV shows. We need THIS product to look younger. We need THAT product to keep up with our neighbors. Imagine how you’d look driving THIS car around town.
But the truth is we don’t need that shirt, or that vacation, or that house or car or watch or exercise bike. At least we don’t need any of them to truly be content. Sure, they might provide happiness, but that’s temporary, and we want to pursue the lasting stuff here.
So here are 4 things I do whenever the sly devil of discontentment peers around the corner (usually after scrolling Instagram.) This week give them a try yourself and see how your attitude (and desires) change.
1.) Practice gratitude.
Every morning name one thing you are grateful for that day. Every night, name one thing you were grateful for that happened that specific day.
Before I get out of bed each day I thank God for a very specific blessing in my life. And before I fall asleep I do the same but for something that happened to me that day. It might be as huge as getting a job promotion or as little enjoying a new book.
Contentment begins with gratitude for what you already have. And guess what? Once you start naming your blessings you’ll find that they seem to grow too. Also, I love this Contentment Journal I found that guides you on a 90-day find contentment journey.
2. Practice the “Art of Making Do.”
The art of making do is not a no-spending challenge (although I will talk about that next).
It’s a learned skill that teaches us to use what we have instead of going out and buying something new. I can think of no better example than any of those shows about living off the grid or living in the backcountry of Alaska.
Many of them live hours from the nearest store so when they need something they either make it from scratch or repurpose an item they already have for something new.
For inspiration, here are 10 reasons I like owning less stuff!
They are resourceful to the core.
While I’m not suggesting we need to make our own shoes from bark found in our backyard, we too can learn the art of making do.
For instance, say you were going to a wedding in two weeks. Our natural inclination is to buy a brand new dress. But if we told ourselves we HAD to make due I’m pretty sure we could find 2 or 3 dresses that would work perfectly fine already hanging in our closet.
Next time you’re tempted to go out and get something new say, “what can I use that I already own JUST for the next week instead?” I think you’ll be surprised how resourceful you are and a few weeks later, may not even need to buy that thing.
The art of making do is all about re-wiring our brands as to what we really need and what we just want. And when we find out we want (and even need less) it starts to breed contentment with what we already own.
3. Try a no-spending challenge.
A no-spending challenge is similar to the art of making do, just more in an active form. I recently saw a woman on Instagram who was participating in a full-year no-spending challenge! (Besides food and the essentials, of course). While I commend her I’m not sure I could ever do that. I have, however, participated in two-week no spending challenges and was greatly affected by them.
If that seems like too much try one week. It’ll still be hard but maybe not as daunting.
And a funny thing happens in our brains when we tell ourselves not to spend, our hands start itching for that wallet and we all of a sudden think we need EVERYTHING. But stick with it.:) And continue to practice the art of making do and your daily gratitude exercise. My friend Rachel tried a no-spending challenge and has lots of tips to get you started.
When you get to the end you’ll not only be proud for making it but find you’ll be more intentional about spending going forward.
4. Begin praising or complimenting others.
Wait. What does this have to do with “being content with what you have now?” A lot.
Many of the reasons we’re not content with what we have are because someone else has MORE of it or a BETTER version. But the truth is when we start comparing our clothes, our homes, our cars, our jobs to others’….there will always be someone else that has more of it or has a better version.
Or maybe they’re in debt because they always have to have the best.
Or maybe they just make it appear that way on Instagram.
Or maybe they have everything material wise but because they haven’t mastered contentment they are still miserable.
Or maybe quite frankly, they do have more money and are able to afford things we won’t ever be able to.
It doesn’t matter. Comparison and jealousy will get us nowhere.
But here’s a trick. Next time you feel that ping of comparison or jealousy, “like” their photo. Compliment them to their face. Compliment them behind their back. Say a prayer for them. I promise you, by not giving in to the feeling of jealousy but instead extending a compliment it takes the power out of the comparison.
It might not be what they were expecting to you do. It certainly is not what the devil was expecting you to do. Fake it ’til you make it until you can smile at what someone has but not let it detract from all the blessings you already have.
I truly hope these tips are helpful to guide you to find contentment in your own life. Practice all four of them daily and share with someone who you know is struggling with discontentment in their life.
If so, one day soon we’ll be able to admire the grass in each other’s yard while continuing to water our own.
How did you learn to be content with what you have?