I have had a personal breakthrough in my minimalist journey. The last post I did was about dealing with the desire for more things. And one of my bullet points was how recognising that often material desires are actually misdirected desires for other things in life like companionship, health etc.
I’ve been thinking a lot more about this and this certainly was something I previously understood on the surface but now i REALLY get it and have applied now to my life.
This is the key i think both to minimalism and happiness. Ok that might sound all very grand, but i think this is something that alot of minimalists including myself till now really don’t quite get.
To be a happy minimalist you need to not focus on purging, not focus on pushing away feelings of desire, not focus on the money you might be saving from the lifestyle and not even focus on how nice your house feels when it isn’t all cluttered. And actually for that matter not even focus on how after you buy things often the happiness they brings quickly fads. Those things are good, but not enough!
You can only truly be happy and therefore minimalist in a sustainable way when you focus on meeting your non materialistic needs and desires. This has absolutely nothing to do with minimalism or a minimalist lifestyle really so one could be perfectly happy and content without having to go through a process of de-cluttering or consciously buying less. But I think to be a minimalist in a way that does not feel like depravation or some kind of challenge you have set yourself that you need to live, sorting out the other areas of your life and focusing on them is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING!
Now I am writing this as someone who has really only just ‘got it’, so i can hardly say i am a shining example of someone who has achieved this state of being. When i think about minimalists who i like to follow on youtube or online i’d have to say that Connor from Thriving Minimalist and his girlfriend Brittany Tailor on Youtube I think are the best examples of living this lifestyle. So go check them out. Most of their videos are not about how few possessions they own etc but how they are living the life of their dreams and encouraging others to do so too.
I’m sure there are a lot of personal development exercises that could be done to explore this further – it is an awfully big thing. But here is something that has helped me come to this realisation and actually apply this to my life.
So i said in the previous post i’d been feeling the desire for some new things lately and mostly i’d just been trying to squash the feeling. But now i recognise that for each kind of category of thing i’ve been wanting it corresponds to something my life i’m actually wanting to improve.
For example in my own life right now:
Cooking equipment and running gear desires = The desire to be healthier and fitter.
Now i already knew i wanted to be healthier and fitter but now that i recognise that desires for “accessories” in the food and exercise category don’t actually make me fitter or healthier suddenly i’m not feeling all that interested in getting this stuff. I have realised i have enough for now to go exercise and eat healthier and whenever i feel the urge to buy something in this category i’m going to do something that actually will work towards this like go for a run or walk.
Overeating/ elaborate food preparation = lacking human companionship.
Not quite materialistic but still overconsumption and unnecessary stuff in general. This is a tough one though as i have just moved to a new town and are just getting to know people. But maybe when i’m tempted to overeat or spend hours on end preparing food (unnecessarily) i can do something that connects with people either phone or email a friend or family member or get out of the house into environments where i can meet new people or at least have a conversation like the parents dropin centre in town.
Really that is all at the moment for me. I am not overly desiring any other categories of things. But this exercise for me has been incredibly useful. I also think anytime i do suddenly ‘want’ something asking myself what actually is it that i really need is going to help enormously.