“We are all so conditioned by the world in we live that we can go a lifetime and never get within a stone’s throw of our own true selves.”
If you are like me, you’ve accumulated a lot over the years. In my case I’ve accumulated a tremendous unhealthy amount of possessions and clutter. My closets overran with clothing and footwear I wore and more so things I hadn’t worn often. My bedroom heaped piles of chunk. I could have been swallowed by its mere existence. You know exactly what I’m talking about!
What I realized after some pain-staking moments and events in my life was that, I had put so much of my confidence and self-awareness into mere things. Things that didn’t add value to my life. Things, emotions, people, and even myself, got in the way of not living my life to its greatest potential. I started to understand that I was trying to fill voids by owning and possessing more. These deceptions I once held, caused me to fall into debt, emptiness, depression, stress, loss, and an overall feeling of meaningless. The crisis was real and evident. Thankfully, there was hope at the end of the tunnel and life could spring again.
Since I’ve dived straight into minimalism and haven’t looked back, I would like to give a few points of why the minimalist approach to life is the best way to combat over-consumption and materialism.
- Paying Off Debt. Because you are pursuing only the things that benefit you, it frees you to tackle debt and stay out of it. Indebtedness, is something most of us know all too well. We spend money we don’t have with plastic cards. We try to keep up with the Joneses, and therefore run ourselves into the ground. What we fail to realize, is that the Joneses are probably chasing someone else because like most, they are just as discontented as we are. When you spend less, you have more of a driving force to eliminate debt and the bi-product of debt elimination is a debt free life. Read more about this here.
- Less Clutter, More Creativity. Part of my passion in life is meeting and growing in relationships with other people (wife, church, friends, family, strangers etc.) What I’ve come to find out is that when I own less items, I don’t have to spend all of time cleaning it, maintaining it, and showing it off to people for no good reason. This freedom alone, allows me to spend more quality time with people I care to know and grow with. I’ve had plenty of meaningful meet-ups at the local Starbucks. When we are less confined to clutter and baggage, we can REALLY be there with others and provide our full attention. When we have less clutter, we can create what we’re passionate about in life. Personally my own craft is leading and guiding youth and young adults in life through meaningful experiences. I’d rather spend my time and energy doing that than accumulating crap I don’t need or really want. Also a great read here.
- The Pursuit of Happy. In a society where the notion of the American Dream saids “more is better”, we can see in retrospect that, this just isn’t true. The more we consume, the more we desire. All for what? The pursuit of happiness. If I have just that latest gadget I’ll be content. If I can amass a “large” enough wardrobe, I’ll be satisfied. If I can obtain enough friends, I’ll feel better about myself. You see, the truth of the matter is that these things will end up being a life-long pursuit because these things never come through on their promises. They never quench the satisfaction of happiness we’re searching for. I’m not saying if you ditch all your possessions and non-valuable things, you will achieve nirvana or full contentment. My Christian belief would not have me think so. One’s life does not consist of the things he owns. Happiness is best found in things that are not things (tweet that). We find true happiness in the friendships that have substance and meaning. We find happiness in our families and love ones. Lastly, we find happiness in the pursuit of our purpose in this life.
Of course, there are countless other reasons to why less is best. But for now, consider pondering these few and possibly decide to venture the minimalist way of living.