Ever since the beginning of December I have felt myself slowly being pulled back into the treadmill of consumption. Maybe it was the holidays, maybe it was being surrounded by people that thought my minimalism was just a passing trend, maybe it was the stress of my last semester of graduate school, or my breakup with my long term boyfriend.
Whatever the reason, I felt tired. Tired of explaining what slow living and minimalism were. Tired of feeling like I was living by someone else’s guidelines. I had done what all of my simple living role models say not to do- I let lots of outside influences in and I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect.
I thought that if I was not living the perfect simple life that I was not doing anything at all! I told myself, “If I haven’t given up all paper products by now, when will I!?” or “If I buy those valentine’s day straws, am I really a minimalist!?” I did to myself the exact thing I have told you all not to do.
I was not gentle with myself or my heart- I told myself that if I was not doing it all perfectly then I was not doing it.
So, for the past few weeks I have been working to be better to myself. I’ve been working to reclaim the joy and love that comes with simple living rather than this idea of perfectionism or “the perfect minimalist”.
Placing unnecessary pressures on yourself when it comes to decluttering and simplifying is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. We need to encourage our hearts rather than forcing ourselves to do something just right.
If you find yourself losing steam as you declutter, rather than pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion- take a break! Read a book, enjoy a podcast, have a delicious cup of coffee. Remind yourself why you want to simplify your life. Take time to picture your ideal home and your ideal space. Let those positive feelings drive you rather than making this another “should” or “have to” in your life.
If, like me, you find yourself needing some uplifting or some gentle encouragement I have a few things that have worked for me. They are simple, but they are powerful .
First, find quotes that awaken your heart. Find quotes from wonderful people that can put what you’re feeling into words. Here’s my favorite at the moment.
Stay close to the people, the places, the ideas, and the things that spark joy in your heart and make you feel alive. Let go of the rest.
Next, listen to someone that can guide you and inspire you when things get busy or hard. I have been listening to The Minimalists podcast. I’m actually listening to them as I write this blog post. They are two young guys living a simple, minimal lifestyle and they have so much wonderful stuff to say! They give great advice in a gentle yet straightforward way.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, try checking out minimalist YouTube channels. I’ve mentioned a few of them here before but one that I have recently discovered and am loving is FemmeHead. She is a vegan, feminist, minimalist, awesome lady.
And finally, this may just be me but I wanted some new inspiration. Something to make me excited about simple living and to take the focus away from being “the perfect minimalist”.
So, I’ve decided to practice pretty minimalism. What’s pretty minimalism you ask? Not only do I keep things in my house that are useful and serve a purpose but I also keep things that serve the purpose of being beautiful.
William Morris said it best.
Instead of instituting hard and fast rules about what I keep or what I buy, I am following the concept that joy sparking items don’t always have to serve a purpose. Maybe their purpose is to just be beautiful.
Simple living and minimalism are not trends. They are lifestyles. Life is a long and beautiful journey, your steps to a more simple life should be long and beautiful too. Try not to rush yourself, try not to feel like you have to simplify your life in just a few short months.