“I think you’re making a mistake.”
“How long will this fad last?”
Maybe you’re well into your minimalist lifestyle. Maybe you’re just beginning your journey, or perhaps you’re just thinking about it. Wherever you fall of the spectrum of minimalism, you have undoubtedly received unwelcome feedback from friends, family members, and perfect strangers. Tangled looks of confusion, dismissiveness, and even sharp criticism become unexpected hurdles anyone making a lifestyle change will inevitably experience. If you are facing this, afraid of this, or if you are currently doing this, I am here to reveal the obvious.
Minimalism is not a four-letter word.
In fact, here’s a list of things not included in the spectrum of minimalism:
•Minimalism doesn’t have rules or a strict code
•Minimalism doesn’t have a uniform
•Minimalism isn’t just for the wealthy
•Minimalism isn’t a fad
•Minimalism isn’t always a palette of black, white, and shades of gray
•Minimalism isn’t just for vegans
•Minimalism doesn’t have a political or religious affiliation
•Minimalism doesn’t mean never spending money
•Minimalism doesn’t require you to paint all your walls white
•Minimalism isn’t a coping mechanism
Now that that’s cleared up, here’s a list of what minimalism IS:
•Minimalism is a well-rounded lifestyle
•Minimalism is a string of intentional choices
•Minimalism is a tool leading to many other potentially positive changes
•Minimalism is about increasing your personal happiness
•Minimalism is an individualized concept
•Minimalism is subjective
•Minimalism can be calming
•Minimalism can help you focus and gain motivation
•Minimalism is a responsible lifestyle
•Minimalism is a stepping stone toward living an intentional, fulfilling life
To be frank, the list could go on and on. This is merely a summary of my personal thoughts on minimalism. We have been on the receiving end of what I like to call the “nod and smile”. You know it. It’s what you do when the person across the table from you is saying something you know you should be listening to but don’t quite grasp?
A good way to approach the inevitable “why?” is with straightforward honesty. Concepts that are not understood will be met with confusion and judgement until education happens. Insight is and important key to understanding. So, instead of saying, “We have too much stuff we don’t need.” a better answer might be “Because I want to surround myself with only the things that make me happy” or “Because I’m learning that I’m happier with less”
Minimalism is not a four letter word. It’s a ten letter word worth more than all the things we’ll learn to never need.