Minimalism is a funny thing. On the surface it seems like it’s about possessions, about the excess stuff. But anyone who’s started down the road to a more minimalist outlook soon realizes that it’s about so much more than material things.
// It teaches you a new way to define yourself that’s separate from what society tells us is important.
// It forces you to examine your life and your priorities in a new way.
// It teaches us to let go of the artificial / superficial definitions of personal value and success.
Most profoundly for me, minimalism has helped me get more comfortable in my own skin. I’m learning to stop defining myself by what I have, what I wear or what I earn. I’m learning to focus on deriving my value from within.
This change of perspective has made my life better, fuller and richer in so many ways.
No Longer Sacrificing My Finances to Keep Up
We live in a society that idolizes the newest, the best, the most current. Clothing trends come and go in the blink of an eye, the fancy new phone is outdated in a matter of months and we’re all left in a perpetual race to keep up.
I definitely spent my early adulthood chasing the trends, pouring money into clothing stores, new shoes, decorative items for my home … I never really stopped to ask myself if shopping actually made me feel happier, more complete or more confident.
It didn’t. What it did do was land me in a load of consumer debt with a closet full of things I didn’t wear and an apartment full of stuff that added no real value to my life.
I eventually realized that my shopping habit wasn’t about fulfillment (duh!) but about insecurity. I wasn’t secure enough in myself to let me shine through… I needed to cloak and disguise myself to create a version of me I thought was more appealing to others.
The freedom of no longer chasing the material has allowed me to redirect my financial resources to pursuits that satisfy my soul. Travel, adventure activities and my horse bring me more joy and fulfillment than any material object possibly could.
Instead of sacrificing my financial health being a slave to the trends, I can invest in my passions.
Developed Personal Style Over Fashion Sense
There’s another happy side effect of saying no to fashion trends – you get to develop YOUR personal style instead.
Through most of my twenties I was never quite confident in the way that I dressed. I picked the “right” current clothes, the up to date cuts and seasonal colors but I always felt like I was putting on a costume rather than wearing something that screamed ME.
By stepping back from trends, fast fashion and the pressure dress a certain way I was finally able to get in touch with what made me feel good, sexy and comfortable in my wardrobe. The pieces I pick now are always ones I love, one’s that feel like me.
I decide what style, cut, and colors make me feel good. I’m no longer letting something as personal as my day to day clothing choices be dictated by chain stores, corporations and fashion magazines.
Simplified My Beauty Routine
Trust me friends, once you start simplifying one part of your lifestyle it quickly spills over into almost every other aspect of your life. My search for simplicity, along with getting more comfortable in my own skin, came together to alter my hair and makeup routine.
I used to do the full get up. Foundation, concealer, powder, eye shadow, liner, mascara – then came the hair mousse, blow drying, styling and hair spray. Just like my wardrobe, I was putting on the costume I was “supposed” to wear.
Minimalism has taught me the triviality of focusing on the superficial. Special occasions aside I rarely use any more make up than a touch of concealer under my eyes and a light brush of mascara. My mornings run smoother and I save money on personal care items.
I feel more like ME and more confident as this relaxed version of my former self. It suits me better.
Helped Me Find My Tribe
As I learned more about intentional living, simplifying and minimalism I started to create connections with people who’s values and priorities were more in line with my own. Both online and in the real world, when you start to find and honour your authentic self you begin to connect with other people on a deeper level.
Those people are your tribe. Those people are the ones that add to your life. They’re the ones who you relate to, who support you and who just seem to “get it”.
I’ve come a long way since starting on my journey toward minimalism and simplicity. What I thought was a concept centered around material possessions turned out to be the driving force that helped me change on a much deeper level.
More than anything else, what minimalism has given me is the confidence to connect more with my true, authentic self.
Pretty profound gift for something just about “stuff”.
So Dear Readers – What’s the most profound or surprising way minimalism has affected your life? We love hearing what you have to say so drop us a quick note in the comments!