The title of this page may sound a little dramatic, as if minimalism is some sort of radical lifestyle. Maybe you don’t want a new lifestyle. Having a good clean out and throwing out some of your possessions sounds like good fun, but why so radical? For many, the life changing type of minimalism is a bit too much. That might have something to do with the fact that minimalism seems to require a lot of sacrifice. It’s true, you have to get rid of a lot of stuff, and many thing will become a ‘no go’. Minimalising your life however isn’t a sacrifice by far. To the contrary, being a minimalist, will help you, to overcome sacrifices you might have accepted in your life, up until now. Let me explain.
Time to prioritize me
Let’s start by considering the presumed sacrifices that a minimalist will have to make. Stuff and material possession are the obvious start, but minimalism’s reach goes way beyond the material world. You will be minimalisering your whole life, and hence will have to make choices for the better. You might take a pass on many social ‘obligations’, in order to be more in sync with yourself. Moving to a smaller place, like a tiny house, will be a key move in cutting down your mortgage. Canceling numerous subscriptions and memberships, will help you to reduce stress in your head and bills on your bankaccount. These are typical examples of steps you can take to minimalise your life and become a minimalist. What might generally be considered as a sacrifice, like living small and having less luxury, can actually be pure a blessing from a minimalist perspective. The key question is, what a ‘sacrifice’ actually takes from you, and what is left in its place. Having a small house, does of course limit you in space available to live in and store your belongings. But what makes these consequences to be sacrifices. Instead, you will be pushed to spend more time outside, it will help you to buy less stuff, it will bring a sense of peace of mind, and it will reduce your fixed costs dramatically. The beauty: you will get used to a small space in no time.
Sacrificing your freedom, the biggest waste of all
The next step is to turn the issue around. If minimalism doesn’t require sacrifice, we should think hard about the things we considered important before. Is it the ‘maximalist’ who’s making sacrifices instead? From a minimalist perspective, and I’d even say human perspective, he is making the biggest sacrifice of all: his freedom. You see, having all the nice stuff, subscriptions and luxuries comes with a cost. Firstly, the actual costs in terms of money, required to maintain such a lifestyle. The amount of working hours, and the freedom in choice of work, are a direct result from the amount of money you’re spending on these things. This is the most tangible form of freedom I’m referring to. Secondly comes your perceived freedom. How free you féél is a key component in actually being free. All these things that you have acquired in your life. The stuff you have surrounded yourself with. Every little item requires yet another bit of your time, energy and attention. A lack of financial freedom and perceived freedom limit you in the capability to be in sink with yourself and surroundings. In other words, they don’t only limit your freedom, they also prevent you from becoming aware of it.
A new mindset
Obviously, money will always be a part of the equation, and material wellbeing will always be a part of our society. I’m not advocating some unreasonable, hippie lifestyle. What I’m saying is, that money and stuff isn’t at the center of what life is about. It at least, doesn’t have to be. With another mindset, you can get rid of that firm grip that money has. Our economy is all about consuming, buying, using and throwing away. Most economist claim that our society would collapse rather soon, without it. The matter of the fact is that, that shit isn’t true. Growth is only necessary to a certain extent. In today economy however, growth is only really beneficial for the companies. It isn’t for us, normal people, who get addicted, and hence have to sacrifice our freedom, in order to work, to maintain that strange lifestyle of consumerism. Breaking that chain isn’t easy. It’s only when you’re on your way out, that you see it for what it is. It is only then, that you find out that it only gave apparent satisfaction. It’s happiness was only superficial. In reality, it disabled you to pursue real freedom and pure bliss. A harmful distraction to say the least.
I can only assume that a part of you knows what I’m talking about. And you reading this, may easily indicate that you’re about to get out of it, and start pursuing freedom. In that case, you already successfully made the first move. The next one is easy: it’s time to a declutter and de-worry.
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