I had a friend once tell me that she could never be a minimalist; she didn’t see the value in minimalism. She liked colors, owning things, and having those things out and around her too much. Minimalism, she told me, was the complete opposite of that. And she felt like trying to live that way would lead her to feel sad and her space to feel too stark.
I wasn’t going to argue her point because after all, everyone is different. We all believe different things, have different preferences, and make different decisions on the direction we want our life to go. There is nothing wrong with that.
I thought about the conversation I had with that friend a lot when I started my minimalism journey and used it to test my thoughts on what it means to be a minimalist, and to consider what value it brings. I challenged myself on what it really means to be a minimalist, and whether I could really consider myself one.
Am I really a minimalist if the walls in my kitchen are orange or if I own not one, not two, but three black cardigans?
The answer is of course I am. Because minimalism isn’t about not owning a lot, necessarily, or having stark, white walls in your house. Minimalism is about owning enough and keeping whatever adds value to your life, and getting rid of what doesn’t. Today, I have a broader understanding of the meaning of minimalism and a grand appreciation for the sense of value and purpose it brings to my life.
Minimalism is about simplicity.
At a very basic level minimalism is about choosing things that are important and useful, and saying no to everything else without fear that you will be missing out because you don’t own the latest gadget or wear the current fashion statement.
When you make choices based on the value something can bring to your life, you live with more intention. You aren’t making decisions based on a need to fit in or to keep up. You are making decisions on what fits the purpose of your life.
Minimalism is about being deliberate.
Being really specific in this way, about what you choose to let into your life helps you stay uncluttered, focused, and clear in your actions and thoughts. Your deliberateness helps you see value in deciding what brings happiness. And therefore you see value in choosing what thoughts, things and even people will actually inform that happiness.
It is not that minimalists choose less. It is that they value not having too much in their space or head that crowds the perception and plan for how they want to live their life. And choosing that way of living often naturally results in owning less.
But living so much more.
If you want to create a life you love you must leave space for the creation. That space can be colored any shade you’d like. But if you fill it with too many unnecessary thoughts or things you will make harder work for yourself. You will make it more difficult to see your path and feel the value in the life you deserve to live.
Be bold. Be creative. And be intentional in how you live your life.
There is true value in living that way.