Minimalism is rarely discussed in terms of its philosophies, and more often discussed methodologically. This is a look at the why of minimalism. It is important to understand the mindset of someone who makes the choice to live a more minimalist life; the mindset is the root of the behavior.
Minimalism is not a mindless fad. How can it be when it requires some manner of sacrifice and limitation? Generally, people who take steps to reduce and simplify their life, do so because they begin to think differently about how they should best live their life. Or, they see the immoral and destructive nature of thoughtless consumerism, and make a conscious effort to exorcise this demon within themselves.
Don’t Battle Your Desires…
Without cultivating the minimalist mindset, minimalism is a constant battle. You try to resist temptations, you try to reduce your physical and mental clutter, you try to find natural solutions, but all the while your inner urges build. Much like an extreme weight loss diet, minimalism without the mindset leaves you destined to relapse in a big way. Pushing against your own desires is a losing battle.
So if battling against your own desires is not what minimalism is all about, then what is it about? I am not here to tell you to give up on your dream of a simpler life, not by any account. I am here to be realistic, and to make your life a little easier. Minimalism is about wanting less. Don’t fight your desires. Learn not to desire.
When you cultivate the minimalist mindset, you are no longer fighting a losing battle. You motives are driven by your thoughts, and your actions fall into place behind it. Learn to love the simplicity, and see the reasons behind the actions that you take as a minimalist.
The minimalist mindset is, first and foremost, best seen as a reduction based on priorities. It is not about throwing everything out and wishing you could get it all back again. It is about making reductions to your life, at a suitable pace, that over time start to highlight what is really important to you. Objects are the mostly commonly envisioned cut back, but the minimalist mindset also applies to your relationships, your speech, your relationship with yourself, your activities, and every aspect of your life. Reduction based on priorities. Make room for what really matters to you.
My Personal Minimalist Mindset
You can learn the minimalist mindset yourself, by practicing minimalism gradually, and in an unforced manner, and taking note of how it effects your life. Here are some of my own views on minimalism:
– The minimalist mindset is one that wants less. Learn to be happy with what you already have. Appreciate how much you have in your life, and realize that the relative value of material possessions, complicated lifestyles, and negative relationships, is zilch. Prioritize. Be happy.
– Simplicity makes for an easier life.
– Minimalism is a freedom from possessions, and the urge to possess. Ask yourself why you want to own objects, people, places? Learn that life is to be shared and enjoyed, not controlled and possessed.
– The minimalist mindset is a freedom from modern mania. It is a disengagement with unnecessary aspects of life, that only serve to clog up your physical and mental space. Learn to refrain from gossip, and chit-chat. Live a simpler social life, and cultivate a simpler world view.
– Minimalists want to live in a cleaner world, with less production, less consumption, and less waste. This desire for a brighter future drives lifestyle changes from within, and living with less contributes directly to this aim.
– Minimalism is not a dogma. There is no religion, or set way of thinking about it. It is an internally driven urge to make reductions, and prioritize what is truly valuable to you. It is practised differently be different people, and one could live in the jungle, or in New York, and be a minimalist.
-Minimalism is a practice, but this practice comes from feelings and philosophies that grow within each individual. As you delve into the world of reduction, the world of simple but strong values, you will come to find your own internal motivations, so that minimalism is never a struggle for you. Far from a struggle, the actions required to make these reductions will soon become natural to you; they will bring you happiness.