“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”Socrates
Many things influence the complexity of our life because of which we get used to the concept of more in everything we do. Some of this complexity is created by us as we accept and take on as part of our daily lives. We all are victims of today’s overload of information, and with access to new technology and digital media influencing our everyday choices, we place more importance on the concept of more, new, or abundance. Too many tasks, ideas, things, possessions complicate our lives.
We tend to equate growing or achievement with number of things we own. We compare and compete to fulfil our emotional needs or cause for connection with society at large. As a result, we get used to cluttering our minds and homes with unnecessary things. These things can be in the form of job titles, roles, ideas, catching up with latest trends when it comes to certain material possessions like cars, homes, clothes, gadgets, and the list goes on.
Most of the times, we pursue many such things because we think something more makes us feel valued, accepted or more successful. In the process, we make our lives more complicated. When we are so focused on seeking more, we simply lose touch with our authentic self and tend to ignore the fact how living with less can make our lives more meaningful and fulfilling.
Simplifying our life paves way for more meaning and fulfilment
Everything in excess or more is opposed to our natural selves, makes us stressed, and overwhelmed. Reducing the things we possess to the bare minimum can reduce complexities of our lives and creates more space emotionally, physically and mentally. It paves way to know ourselves better and in doing so, we become better equipped to live simpler and in a more meaningful way. Intentionally living with only the things we really need or those things that support our purpose makes our life easier.
When it comes to living a minimalist’s life, many think in terms of discarding what they have or moving into a home in a far off place or sacrificing things. But simplifying life may not necessarily be that for everyone.
Minimalism has more to do with a state of mind and appreciating what you already have. It means being intentional in having things that you only need as compared to what you want or desire more of. We all need certain things to keep ourselves safe, comfortable, healthy or happy. But we tend to complicate our lives as we keep redefining what our necessities are and in the process we keep wanting more and more.
One thing what we all learnt from the recent crisis is to focus on what our true needs and to move away from unnecessary wants. When we declutter our living, we can discover what could really make our life more meaningful. Owning less allows you to direct your most finite resources like time, money and energy towards your important needs. It improves your clarity, intentionality and purpose.
Making minimalism part of your life improves your relationship with self, money and time. Simplifying your life will bring balance, freedom, and free your resources to focus on the essentials. This leads you to dig deeper as to what emotions or fears are making your life complicated and less fulfilling.
Minimalism is all about intentionality
Minimalism is about an honest evaluation of precisely what one needs and intentionally keeping ourselves away from material excess. It is to make a conscious decision to be content with and avoid superfluity. So, in a way, it is all about your intentionality to let go of things what you don’t really need, add value in some way or support your purpose.
To simplify is to be aware of what is essential and what is clutter, be it on your to-do list, business ideas, thoughts, emotions, or material possessions. This awareness and shift in your thinking is what creates more meaning and fosters a sense of inner peace and harmony and contributes to your overall well-being.
Many of us become obsessed with the concept of more in our early formative years. We tend to rise up to others’ expectations by maintaining certain socio-economic standing or try to impress others through material means. Whether our parents or people in our lives intentionally lead us down the path of materialism or indirectly through our own actions, our early years absolutely play a role in how we live. We strive for more as we given into thins notion of excess leads to genuine gratification. We thus get used to accumulation of things to satisfy ourselves or to keep up with those around.
Whereas intentionality of simplifying our lives prompts us to re-evaluate and to reconsider what matters most to us. Minimalism is a way of life, a purposeful decision to only incorporate things of quality, need and that add value. Taking the time to assess what’s actually necessary can help form a path to true meaning and happiness.
Minimalism brings about a greater understanding of ourselves, our purpose and what inner obstacles are keeping us from realising them. It creates space to develop a sense of curiosity by opening our mind to new experiences, concepts and skills that are mentally stimulating. It helps in making meaningful connections and make healthy relationships with people and environment around us.
To simplify your life, you need to be aware of your authentic self.
One of the reason we give into material possessions is because we want to be fulfilled. We get obsessed with ‘more’ to improve our own self-image. When we view through ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘what makes me’, our thoughts revolve around having more, more money, more success, or more fame. ‘I’ or egoistic self makes you give into opinions of others to obtain more. It drives us to make choices towards more something in order to seek validation because it fears rejection or inadequacy.
But once you shift your awareness to be conscious of your “authentic self”, and when you realise your interconnectedness or perceive universal oneness, you no longer seek fulfilment through material possessions. You no longer base your decisions on ego. When we seek happiness within, we simply stop seeking external sources as a source of happiness. We instead begin to appreciate simple things that matter most to us. Minimalism is making that conscious choice to treasure experiences rather than things.
Self-awareness leads us towards making choices that we truly find happiness or meaning in rather than to look for a false sense of achievement or success based on things we own.
- Explore real reason behind owning certain things. Knowing whether you are doing it for societal acceptance, external validation, or to live up to others’ expectationsIs helps you review your spending habits. Become aware of unnecessary wastage of resources like your time and money. Figure out things you’re routinely spending on that don’t provide you any real use or satisfaction. Try using things to their fullest potential before replacing them.
- Many of us fall victim to social comparisons that drive us towards excess in order to feel valued. Because of which we feel dissatisfied and pin this on something we think is missing. Become aware of your motives as to why you feel compelled to live a certain way or want something. Reduce your urge to give into external validation or approval of others to determine your self-worth. Finding out the root cause of your desires and tendencies simplify your life.
- Seek out quality in things you buy or do. Switching from one task to another, multitasking, having too many activities on your to-do lists, all these keeps you busy, but you cannot get any quality work done. Reduce the number of goals you are striving for in a day to focus on essentials. Become a minimalist by slowing down, and freeing yourself from constant commitments or events that are not important or in line with your values/goals. Being intentional in your endeavours adds value.
- Reduce your mental clutter. Too many choices confuse your decision making and increase dissatisfaction. Declutter your mind of unhelpful thoughts, opinions or beliefs that make you impulsive towards instantly gratifying behaviours. Practice mindfulness to be aware of your negative impulses or unhelpful emotions like resentment, bitterness or hatred. Mindfulness removes your mental clutter and creates space to make wise choices.
Simplifying your life is cultivating the art of letting go and becoming free of attachment to owning and having. Minimalism is not only about material possessions, it is also about being more aware of ourselves, our needs, and of the role things, activities and people play in our lives. It is about removing distractions in possessions and in pursuits. And the first step towards minimalism is to reflect on the purpose of each item or activity in our life, so we focus on what we truly believe in or is necessary for living a more meaningful life.
“When we remove ourselves from the pursuit of more, we free our resources to pursue happiness in a meaningful way.”