Minimalism, similar to veganism and sustainability, is another trendy lifestyle movement lead by celebrities and influencers. Of course, everyone is inclined to the idea of living a better life with less, but it is much easier said than done. I mean, come on, the word, "minimalism," almost instantly evokes an image of confining all of your belongings into a single suitcase. The idea of living a minimal life sounds terrifying in theory; imagine getting rid of all 30 of your beloved t-shirts or minimizing the pile of sweaters overflowing in the back of your closet? Yeah, right! Just like most, those were my first judgments.
Finally, after hearing so much about this "freeing" and "simple" lifestyle, I will admit, I began looking into it. I found that minimalism was a term that was coined to mean, less is more. Instead of holding onto everything, minimalists promote holding onto only the things that give your life meaning. This idea really started to sound appealing to me because we seem to seek happiness through material possessions, now, more than ever.
I found that everyone manifests minimalism into their lives differently, for most, it means fewer material possessions and for others, it is a means of expression through aesthetics. But just like other "trends," if you dive into it quickly you are likely to be over it in a week. In order to succeed, you must ease yourself into it. I chose to do so by evaluating relationships in my life first. I figured people have just as much as an impact on my life as material possessions do.
I began by asking myself what I have to gain from the people in my life: Happiness? Comfort? Love? Advice?
It doesn't have to be anything major, but it really makes you think about who you surround yourself with. I found that I had been working to hold on to people that weren't reciprocating the effort. I realized the amount of effort and energy I had exerted while holding onto those one-sided relationships. I learned that it is okay to distance yourself from people if you feel like they aren't adding to your life. The goal is to be happy with the people you surround yourself with!
Once I cleared my conscience of the impending responsibility, and maybe even the burden of holding on to some people, I was ready to clean out my actual possessions. Learning that minimizing your material items doesn't mean getting rid of everything made this process a lot easier. I decided that I would only keep sentimental, useful, and meaningful items. I forced myself to distinguish between the needs and the wants.
After purging my belongings, as a minimalist would, I discovered that minimalism doesn't just mean throwing everything out, it means freeing yourself. We tend to hold on to things because it meant something to us once, but it is okay to outgrow and revise. It would be easy to say that minimalism in 2018 is just another lifestyle fad. Even after purging my belongings, I still had way too many things. I will probably never be a minimalist by definition. But, I would consider myself more aware and maybe even more content; I feel cleansed both mentally and physically.
Maybe the minimalists are onto something here after all.