What holds you back from choosing minimalism as a lifestyle?
This is what I asked myself as I sat in my favorite chair (from my great aunt so it’s even cooler) in my office. It was a deep philosophical moment wrapped up in my fuzzy blanket while the kids were asleep.
Actually, I’ve pondered this question a LOT, not just that one moment. But that was the moment the epiphany hit.
I don’t have a hard time letting go of stuff because I actually enjoy the stuff. I don’t have a hard time letting go because I might use it someday.
I have a hard time letting go of stuff because of one thing:
Yup. Pretty sad, huh?
Fear is the one thing holding me back from choosing minimalism the way I’d like to.
What’s embarrassing is it’s not a fear of- will I need this in the future? I’m not worried about how things will be provided for. I’m not worried about whether or not I will be able to cook without those utensils. I’m not worried about having too few clothes to wear. It’s not circumstances. I fear something else.
I fear people.
There. I said it.
(Excuse me while I die of embarrassment for half a minute.)
I fear people’s opinions of me.
I love to keep everyone happy. All. the. time. I want everyone to know their opinion matters and that they matter. I want to be friends with everyone I meet, and so I tend to want to do things to please them. Usually, this results in me trying to change the way I live life to make other people happy.
If you struggle with this too, go read my post about essentialism.
(On a side note, God has been teaching me that it is not my job to make people happy. It’s my job to love them, but ultimately, people have to choose for themselves to be happy or not.)
So when people start offering their opinions on my life, a lot of times I take them too personally. And I shouldn’t. Because God created you, and He created me. And we are different people. Thank goodness or it would be a really, really, boring world.
But a lot of people don’t know what to do about different. (Hence all the big issues of racism, sexism, etc.)
People lash out at “different” because they think their way of life is the only way to do life.
Fear and choosing minimalism instead:
The thing about minimalism is it’s not just about the way you decorate your house. It’s about your reasons for stuff. It’s about drawing you outside of yourself to recognize what is important. Minimalism is simply a tool to help you see that things/possessions are not what matters most.
So how does fear of people’s opinions hold me back from choosing minimalism?
Today’s culture is big into decor. Good grief, go look up HGTV and you’ll know exactly what I mean. (Definitely not hating on HGTV, if I had a TV I KNOW I would be addicted to that channel.)
I love Joanna Gaines, but I am not her. My home will never look like the homes she decorates…
And that’s okay. I am not an interior decorator. I hate it. Seriously, if you want to see me at an angry moment in my life throw a DIY decor project at me and tell me to make my house look nice. That’s just not the kind of person I am. Minimalism has helped me recognize this about myself.
People come into my house and ask if we’re moving. Or they tell me I should decorate. Or they get really specific and tell me what I should buy and put where.
Now I’m sure these people are only trying to be helpful, but surprisingly, it’s not helpful.
Because it won’t change the fact that that is not who I am. I would way rather spend my time with my husband or my kids than out shopping for home decor or tackling a terrible home DIY project.
Lesson learned: Everyone is different and some people may not accept that difference, but it doesn’t mean we need to conform to their opinions.
Consumerism is huge. I don’t have to tell you- you know.
Cheap brands, fashion that changes in a minute, and the pressure to have everything.
To be perfectly honest, when the topic of consumerism comes up, the first industry I think of is the fashion industry. And I do not mean this in any way to target fashion bloggers. Because, seriously, I need you fashion bloggers or I wouldn’t know how to put together a cute outfit.
BUUUT, the fashion industry as a whole has disintegrated into pushing cheap clothing at us, and telling us to buy this in May, buy this in July, etc, etc. And these poor quality clothes don’t last!!!
Bring back the quality and the class, puhhlease.
Okay, I’m done with my rant.
My fear of not fitting in would hold me back from my clothing choices- even if I didn’t like something. I felt that I should keep it and wear it because it was the “style.” I feared that people would look at me funny if they began to recognize clothes that I wore multiple times.
Essentially it was my fear of rejection that made me struggle with my closet for so long.
It was difficult to push past that, but the freedom I have found in cleaning out my closet has been amazing! I absolutely love it. (P.S. I’m going to create my own capsule wardrobe which I’m super excited about!!)
It’s easy to find things to wear in the morning. Outfits can be easily interchangeable. Accessories give variety. And I only have things I LIKE! Which is fantastic since I’m the one who has to wear them. 😉
Lesson learned: Individuals should make up an industry, not the other way around.
I worry about what people think I eat. Like good grief. I had better have every imaginable dish or they are going to KNOW I have a weakness for nachos. (Which I do, but hey.) It’s this over-pinterest-ized world where we feel we have to be a top chef or we’ve failed at life.
Well, as I began to embrace minimalism, I realized that KEEPING those kitchen gadgets didn’t mean I knew how to use them. Or that I would ever even want to use them.
So I kept what was important to my cooking habits. Yes, sometimes people are at my house and ask where I keep “such and such,” and when I say, “I don’t have that the world keeps spinning.”
Lesson learned: Sometimes my fear is self-imposed.
Please don’t let the fear of not being the perfect chef keep you from making your kitchen functional!
What keeps you from choosing minimalism?
If you’re like me, and it’s fear keeping you from choosing minimalism, don’t worry, you can get past it. Know what you have to do? Go get rid of something YOU don’t use. Don’t stop, don’t think, don’t ask yourself if great-aunt Beth would use this if she were in your house, just go get rid of it.
It’s the beginning of the minimalism avalanche. Once you begin clearing out unimportant things, you begin discovering freedom and enjoyment in the things you DO use.
Let this be your year to be fearless! Embrace minimalism and intentional living. You won’t regret it.