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Keeping it Simple-ish

Written by Anthony Best

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Posted on June 26 2021

When I was first introduced to the idea of minimalism, it felt like the antithesis of everything I stood for. I was enjoying a career as a wardrobe stylist, which as a lifestyle was bringing me much happiness but it appeared to be in obvious contrast to the minimalist lifestyle, which from the outside looked to be centred around living in sacrifice. I could relate to its values of focus, character building and humility, things I did see as valuable, yet somehow in my eyes the idea of success I left my native home of Barbados in search of, just looked like more. I had come for success with all the toppings - or whatever I thought success was - so needless to say my introduction to minimalism fell on less than interested ears.

Fast forward a few years, I was now out of that career in fashion and I had lots of stuff but what I didn’t have was any lasting sense of fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the stuff, it was amazing, my taste was exquisite and to be fair,  that career in fashion also brought with it many great achievements, opportunities and experiences but the more I reflected, it was clear that at some point it stopped being what I needed from life and instead of being on a path to fulfillment, I was merely on a path that kept me on the receiving end of the stuff I liked. 

This created a shift in perspective that caused me to rethink other choices up to that point and I realized I was working harder to maintain the lifestyle I didn’t want anymore and not really living my bliss nor achieving the fulfillment that I knew I was entitled to.

Around this time I had lunch with a friend who lived a minimalist lifestyle and through no pressure at all, offered to help me "re-home" some of my stuff. This is when I slowly started to come around to the concept that I was too quick to dispel those years earlier.
The more I learned through research, I realized this lifestyle was f*cking serious, it wasn’t just about inspiring modern architecture or cute Scandinavian made furniture. Instead I found myself on a path that taught me about how many people achieved supreme levels of calm through recognizing and intentionally editing their way of living. I learned that minimalism was a highly intentional way to live that relies on thoughtfulness and honesty in order to focus on what is enriching and most meaningful. 
It ultimately helped me to understand how the stuff I was distracted by, kept me from really achieving the fulfillment I desired and from appreciating the things I valued, and this set me on a path to be more intentional with what I allowed into my home and life.
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It’s important to say that it’s a thoughtful process and relies on small, yet consistent actions that create the foundations which you will build upon. It’s not a trend and while decluttering involves the upkeep of your surroundings this is where you obtain your insight on the things you live with and for.  


“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” - Joshua Becker

 

 Tips For Embracing A Minimalist Lifestyle



Tackle one thing at a time

Avoid becoming overwhelmed or starting something that you won’t finish. Another good reason for this approach is that you are able to mentally assess and reassess your motivation for this new way of life as you are giving our attention to the specific task or area. Whether you are looking to simplify and declutter a part of your home, a schedule or a creative space, it’s sound advice. 

 

Become comfortable with detachment

We sure do love our stuff! Many times to the point where we might even think our worth and happiness are wrapped up in it and that we can’t live without it. Detachment refers to mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically disengaging from actions, people or behaviours and removing the perceived value we place in material possessions. Understanding how to detach and valuing the importance of not being tied to “stuff” helps us to let go of things that won’t contribute to your bliss and saves your attention for those things which actually enrich our lives. 

 

Create a Mantra

Speaking it into existence is a great way to remind or motivate ourselves of what it is we really want or have committed to do. No, it doesn’t need to be complicated or even overly dramatic, your mantra just needs to be words that encourage you to stay the course and that will empower you to be true to your values. A great minimalist mantra that anyone can appreciate is “Everything I need. I have. Everything I have, I need.”

 

Establish Solid Foundations / Set Boundaries

Your foundations refer to the things which are most important to your happiness and peace of mind and are generally the things you want to improve by switching to this way of living. They act as the training wheels that help to stabilize you on this course, especially in the beginning. For many people the foundations are things like relationships, health, spirituality, charity and passions or professional career and as you go about this way of living they keep you anchored in your decision making. The same way your foundations help to keep you focussed, they also help you determine what you bring into your life moving forward will be integral in creating the boundaries that you will need to be successful. 


Seek Quality Over Quantity

This one is just a good rule to live by point blank and can be applied to relationships or material possessions. While minimalism helps you to declutter your dwelling and to be comfortable owning less, it’s also a brilliant tool for understanding why we love the things that we do as well as understanding the importance that we give to those things in relation to our happiness. Seeking and appreciating quality over quantity isn’t strictly about the cost either but rather the true value of whatever it is. Surely, living minimally does not mean that you won't have nice or expensive things, instead it questions your motives for wanting them and helps you maintain autonomy to not be pulled into following societal trends or friends who might not share your same values. 

Remember it’s about improving your mental wellness

It’s important to remember that you aren’t being forced into this and you made this choice for a reason. Most of the time people seek a minimalist lifestyle to regain control of whatever is their situation and while it might not always be easy, when you are experiencing challenges it’s important to remember that you are choosing to do this to become better and be more present in your own life and the lives of the people who matter to you most. 

This pathway to wellness isn’t about suffering or even punishing yourself for your past decisions and it’s about isolating your needs from your wants and removing any guilt or anxiety so you can make decisions strictly based on what is right and healthy for you. 

 

 

 

 

 

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