Less is more!
“Minimalists? ‘Course I know who they are. The weirdos who have no beds and thus sleep on the floor, they don’t use electricity and can easily do without showering for 5 months. Half of them are eagerly fighting for women’s rights. The rest must be vegetarians. Or even worse, vegans. Looneys.” Well, no. To many of us, surprisingly, the concept has a negative connotation. We way too often see the trend as a pointless, radical, or close to an absurd movement, but do we even actually bother to ask ourselves consciously – what is it all about?
Minimalism – what does it mean?
Minimalism means getting rid of the excess in favour of focusing on what truly matters in life. It helps us to reflect upon our confined thinking and attachment to possessions, which we way too frequently identify with happiness, thus losing sight of what is significant and worthy. Minimalism means deliberate living, it means freedom.
As Confucius once said, “life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated”.
Assuming that the Chinese sage was right, let’s discuss the benefits of filtering the influx into our lives.
There is an undeniable connection between what and who we surround ourselves with and our mental state. Our tendency to hoard stuff that we do not need is overwhelming. How many things in your house have not been used for a year? Two years? Five years? You keep insisting that you need them, don’t you? Or is it just an excuse because you are way too attached to throw them away? Have you ever heard the statement that the things that you own end up owning you?
What about people? Reflect upon it for a while. Have you ever forced yourself to hang out with somebody you were not really fond of? Or worse, someone who had a detrimental or even toxic impact on you? Have you ever done things you were not really into doing? Do you think it’s fair to treat yourself this way? The first step is to realize that you are not a slave. You were not born to please people, nor to stash things. Let them go, turn them down. Regain control over your life.
Once you’ve done it, you’ll make room for your own creative undertakings, for indulging your passions, for meaningful relationships, and living purposefully.
Clearing your mind is not the only advantage of pursuing a minimalist lifestyle. Decluttering our surroundings has been proved to sharpen our focus, make us more decisive, or even decrease the chance of coming down with certain mental illnesses, e.g. depression or anxiety. Some of us subconsciously believe that they are worth just as much as their possessions. Embracing this point of view leads them to gather more than they need and, as a result, feeling overwhelmed as the compulsive buying is nothing but a short-term gratification, having nothing to do with true happiness and fulfilment.
So, what happens if you start saying no? You might learn to redirect your attention to the important stuff, i.e. people, situations, and emotions. You might become more of who you really are and realize that it does not depend on your shoes, kitchen tiles, or your car’s bumper. You might realize that all those things are out there to serve you, not the other way around. You might feel happier, you might not.
Minimalism may not work for everyone, but it can definitely work for anyone, hands down. It does not mean we should quit our job, move to an abandoned hut in the middle of the forest, and hunt animals barehanded. However, we can definitely cut back on things and relationships which should not play a part in our lives in the first place. Not only will we feel liberated, but also quite possibly strengthen the bonds with our nearest and dearest, prioritize our plans and aspirations, change our perceptions, and take the first step towards revitalizing our life-journey. Why not give it a go?
Suggested videos to learn more:
13 Minimalist Habits – Decluttering Motivation (17 min): https://ed.ted.com/on/HUfjcWhu