The benefits of minimalism can be hard to see sometimes. It is, after all a way of life that is often misdefined and easily misunderstood. But when you welcome minimalism into your life it changes it in the best of ways.
My definition of minimalism is simple: It is a way of thinking and living where who you are and what you want from and in your life is reflected in the thoughts, things and people you let into your life. It is a way to design a room, and it is a way to design a life. And it is the designing of the life part I find most important.
You see, minimalism, according to my definition, forces you to dig into your life and determine what it is you really want. And when you do that and gain that clarity, you can more easily decide what belongs in your life and your space, and what doesn’t. That is incredibly important if you are in the business of creating a life you love. In fact, making the determination of what matters and what doesn’t is the basis for that creation.
Minimalism forces intentionality. And intentionality allows you to create meaning in your life, and live it on your terms.
I do want to be clear that adopting a minimalist way of living has nothing to do with perfection. It does have to do with being open to change and being aware of what thoughts and things make that meaning in your life. To really live your life and love it on your terms, you don’t need to do anything perfectly. You just need to embed minimalism and a minimalist mindset into the fabric and flow of how you live your life and let it do its magic. That means being aware of what you own, and why, and making choices in your life from that awareness. In other words, it means you work to connect what you want to feel in your life with what you actually own – in your physical spaces, and mental spaces.
That can be hard work. It is a balancing act, trying to live your life and also pay attention to the things that come into your space and life. And things are constantly coming in. In fact, they can come in so quickly that the balance you have attained can easily be threatened. While that can be jarring or uncomfortable it is key not to try to prevent the messiness that affects your balance in life. The key is to be able to manage, assess, and sort out what is coming in and despite the messiness, find some peace in your day-to-day.
Minimalism helps you do that.
To welcome minimalism isn’t easy mostly because you lose sight of what it is you want.
And importantly, you let internal negative thoughts about yourself, or other people’s perceived opinions take center stage. You let them trump what you know deep inside is what you want, and deserve.
You see, part of what makes practicing minimalism and letting go so difficult is not solely in what you literally remove from your space or life. It is also in the consequences of doing so. Often, in order to let go you have to face the fear of what other people will think. You have to pay attention to what your negative internal voice tells you and not let it stifle you. When you let go of or refuse to bring in anything that is pulling you away from the life you want to live, it can cause waves. It can disrupt the status quo.
In fact, when you take the bold and necessary step to decide what you want in and for your life and discard what doesn’t “fit”, you might likely upset someone.
Or you might have to deal with internal battles with yourself. And in doing so put yourself in the range of fire for criticism – from yourself or others.
That can make you want to pull on the reigns and stop yourself in your tracks. That fear of judgment from others or yourself is powerful. It alone can steer you clear away from embracing minimalism at all. And prevent you from staying on the course of creating your life – on your terms.
To overcome it, you must invert the fear. You must remind yourself that you are the architect of your life. And it is your job to choose the contents that will make it a life you love. Your happiness and purpose in life are no one else’s responsibility. And their opinions are not yours to shoulder.
It is hard work to welcome minimalism – to let go, to decide, to create.
And you deserve what is on the other side of the clutter that has been holding you back. You deserve to feel free, on time, productive, calm, happy, and fulfilled.
Minimalism brings you all of that and more.
So do the work. Decide how you want to live, who you want to be, and what won’t help you get there – and what will.
And in the face of doubt and criticism and fear, hold steadfast to your convictions – your truth.
Welcome minimalism over and over. And let it continue to help you become the person you want to be.
And live the life you were meant to live.
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