I used to think I could never be a minimalist.
I didn't fit the mold. I owned more than 100 things, I drove a car, I loved watching movies on Netflix, I enjoyed variety and didn't only wear neutral colors, and plenty of other reasons. But then I realized something.
Lifestyles are never black and white.
Sure, there are extremists at each end, but that's not the point. The motivation behind making big lifestyle changes is typically a longing for a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment. In this case, minimalism can certainly help you get there.
As The Minimalists so perfectly put it, "Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom."
That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. It's the meaning we assign to our things. More often than not we give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our relationships, our health, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a luxury car or a mansion? Great, then strive for that! But ask yourself why you want these things. Is it from deeply routed insecurities? Will these items actually bring you happiness or will they simply boost your ego?
Minimalism encourages you to make lifestyle decisions more consciously and deliberately. Minimalism helps you find happiness, freedom and fulfillment by simplifying and ridding yourself of life’s excess.
Minimalism helped me:
- Reclaim my time
- Stay present and live in the moment
- Experience a deeper sense of freedom
- See my path and purpose more clearly
- Unlock creativity
- Consume less
- Focus on my health
- Mature and grow as an individual
- Contribute positively to the world beyond
- Allowed me to reach my goal of fitting all of my clothing in a single suitcase (less my wetsuit and coats)
By incorporating minimalism into my life, I've finally discovered balance, which brought me lasting happiness.
Perhaps the most profound realization I have made on my journey to minimalism is that happiness cannot be found through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is not in your life.