It’s so easy to get caught up seeking fulfillment from material items: designer clothes, elaborate homes, cars, boats, etc.
Furthermore, we become entrapped by this lifestyle of seeking validation from others (our family, friends, and peers). This attitude drives a never ending cycle, of searching for happiness, but never truly being satisfied. We seek but never find.
I’ve become increasingly interested in the idea of minimalism and began to start incorporating this concept into certain areas of my life.
Minimalism is the idea that material items, keep us from experiencing life.
In order to afford these luxuries, we have to work more, which takes us away from our family and loved ones. Do these temporary things really make us happy? How much value do we place on these items when they are no longer new, and all we are left with is debt?
I now find comfort in a smaller home and an older car. I no longer feel the need to shop for designer clothing and other unnecessary items. I’ve donated a substantial part of my wardrobe to charity and have significantly curbed my spending. Now when I look at that new pair of running shoes or new workout clothes, I take a time to decide- if I really need the item. Don’t get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with an occasional splurge. Mine are just a lot less frequent now.
Along with material items, it’s important to look at our relationships and how they serve us. Toxic relationships are time-consuming and a waste of time. Examine your relationships and look at those that cause anxiety and drain your energy. Consider if it’s time to let go.
Michelle Lewis, LCSW, of Body-Mind Psychotherapy states, “When you no longer look forward to spending time with the person, find that the unhappiness in the relationship is bleeding into the rest of your life, and you or the other person is either unwilling or unable to put effort into improving the relationship, it is probably time to walk away.”
I’ve found more contentment by letting go of the clutter of toxic relationships, and spending more time with family. The minimalist concept promotes the freedom to explore new hobbies, read more books, and travel. I’m learning to value time over material things. I now understand the importance of cutting things out of my life that no longer bring me joy.
“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything” Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club