Minimalism is a journey that begins with finding contentment and pursuing that in every aspect of life. What does minimalism have to do with contentment? Well, if we want to ‘declutter our lives’ then we have to know what to get rid of. And here’s the key: it’s not a question of what to get rid of, but rather a question of what to keep. Ask yourself what adds value to your life, and eliminate the rest. When we really acknowledge how little we need in order to be happy then it frees us to let go of the excess. It’s no longer a burden to declutter, but a freedom to let go of the extra that weighs us down.
Content with possessions.
While discontent can chip away at our happiness, contentment can make life a lot more simple. Contentment with what we own is found by truly knowing what physical things we need and letting go of the rest.
It’s not bad to have more, but we find ourselves suddenly trapped when we think our happiness depends on having more. If you expect physical things in themselves to make you happy, then you will end up being disappointed. Where is the line drawn? How much more will make us truly happy? Rather than finding calm and contentment it becomes a race for more – a path of striving, competing, and consuming with no real end in sight.
Content with identity.
There are so many opportunities to practice contentment in our lives and calm our hearts. We can learn to be content both in what we have, and who we are.
It’s good to improve, but what happens when our striving becomes relentless? Are you striving for status, money, appearance, prestige, or intelligence? Is it popularity, more things, or ‘to be the best’ at something? Think about what unrelenting standards you place on yourself and reflect on why they are present. If there is something that consistently weighs you down, then give yourself permission to let go and live lighter.
Content with time spent.
The question of what adds value can go beyond the stuff in our homes. There are so many activities, relationships, and pursuits that take up our energy, time, and resources. So begin to look at these things with the same mindset: does it add value? Some things in life are undoubtedly hard work and time consuming but have so much value. However, there are other activities that can become habit and a monotonous part of the day without making our lives better.
How many commitments are on your calendar, and how many of them actually add value to your life? Saying no can be one of the most difficult things to do. But when we say no to some things, we’re freed up to say yes to others. I recently heard the saying, “If you’re doing something, then you’re not doing something else.” Whatever you’re doing, could you be doing something more valuable with your time?
Contentment found when actions align with values.
I’ve personally applied this to my own life recently. If I’m scrolling through facebook or watching youtube, then it’s not just about what I’m doing, but there’s something else that I could be doing. It’s a good exercise to question where we spend our time and then eliminate or reduce activities that only drain us without adding value. Once you identify your values, make sure your daily activities align with these values.
I want to make time in my day for family, contribution, growth, rest, and adequate sleep. I want to learn, help others, laugh often, and love without counting the cost. In the end we all want to find contentment.
What adds value to your life? Apply minimalism to your life and finally find contentment. Have less stuff and more life.