Let me tell you a secret. A secret worth a million $.
Minimalism is not about stuff.
While you would get rid of many prized possessions during the decluttering process, the ultimate goal of minimalism is not living like a Spartan warrior. It’s about contentment, happiness, and freedom. Removing excess from our lives is just a part of the process. The other part is finding contentment in all that we are. It’s knowing when we have enough.
Just as a plumber has many tools in his arsenal, a minimalist can use decluttering as his main tool. Being minimalist means you value yourself more than you value your things. It means removing clutter and adding things that serve a purpose. It doesn’t mean you need to remove everything from your life and live in a modern white apartment without stuff, nor does it mean living in a cabin in the woods without electricity, toilet, and other modern conveniences. Minimalism is nothing more than a sculpting tool to chip away everything that is not the real you.
We know labels don’t make who we are. Wearing a $1,000 Louis Vuitton jacket won’t make us 10x warmer than a regular $100 jacket, same as $20,000 Rolex won’t give us more time than a $20 watch. So why then are we bothered by labels? Why then do we give them so much meaning? You see, wearing something more or less expensive won’t change who you are as a person, and realizing that is liberating. Yes, you would probably still buy labeled things, but it’s important to stop giving them as much meaning as we often do.
Have you ever give away something, only to go back and buy some more? Did you remove a bunch of T-shirts, only to find yourself replacing them with new ones? I think we all did. That’s why minimalism is an excellent accountability partner. When you decide to consume intentionally, you start to ask hard questions. “Do I need this?”, “Is this going to improve my life?”, etc. Having a minimalist mindset helps you as an accountability partner by constantly asking questions and evaluating your decisions.
Maybe next time you catch yourself wanting to replace something you’ve already removed from your life, minimalism will jump on you as a partner and prevent you from buying something you don’t really need.
Owning less is a deliberate choice. A choice that one needs to make if one wants to live a minimalist lifestyle. But just owning less won’t change things a lot. Wanting less is crucial. When you want less, you experience more freedom. Freedom to pursue what you value most. Maybe for you is family, or health, or relationships, creativity, contribution…
When you choose to decrease the importance of stuff in your life, you will find more time to pursue your passions and more room to grow in exciting new ways. And when you choose not to want more than you already have, you’re free from the comparison game. You no longer need to earn more money to buy more things, because they are not important anymore to you.
Find contentment in the things you own, because there is a huge probability that you already have enough.
Minimalism is all about authenticity. It’s not about being one person on a Friday night, and then another one on a Monday morning. It’s not about having one persona for your family, one for your work, and one for your friends and neighbors. It’s a simple and consistent life, authentic and genuine. It’s who we are deep inside, who we are when we are alone.
Living as a minimalist, you don’t need to portray a certain external image dependent upon the circumstances, advertisement, or the comparison game. Minimalism is reliable and works in all circumstances. It’s an honest and transparent lifestyle that doesn’t need to be changed as the seasons change.
Minimalism is a bridge that helps reduce the gap between where you are in your journey, and where you ultimately want to be. It’s less about having fewer possessions and more about how you live your life. When you stop and think about it, you might notice that you aren’t living the life you want.
We need to inspect our values and passions, adjust the goals, and with clarity and purpose embark on a journey toward the life we deserve.
Becoming a minimalist is completely achievable. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard either. A few simple steps in the right direction, a handful of right decisions, and a little work, and you are there. I found minimalism when I was 23, and I can say that there is a huge probability that I will never go back to the old way of living. There are too many benefits to neglect them.
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