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Being a minimalist when you never had much to start with

Sun, Sep 29, 2019 | Read in 4 minutes

Minimalism has become quite the trend. Around social media, in particular, you see desks that have close to nothing on them. People are now wearing clothes that have simpler designs or aren’t too loud. However, I think minimalism isn’t just a trend. It has existed for a long time, probably way before this decade. It continues to exist for people who enthusiastically its principles.

Growing up from a family with few economical means, I don’t know much about abundance frankly. But I do know that I’m happier with just a few things. I try to spend within my means. But there also some exceptions. Such as preferring to go the MacBook and iPhone route. I really love Apple products. I think they are designed for minimalists in general.

So why am I talking about minimalism?

When starting any venture (say, a blog or an online business), the first step is Assessment. Assessing and knowing yourself is crucial since your choice of activities depends on who you are. When you are aware that you tend to be more guided by principles like minimalism, you can leverage your work to fit your needs.

Here are some things I know about myself as it relates to minimalism:

Being an underbuyer

I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin‘s Better Than Before (a sequel to The Happiness Project, which I also enjoyed). I like that she dedicates a chapter on Self-Knowledge. Before knowing our Tendency, it also helps to know certain qualities that we possess and identify with. I am definitely an underbuyer. I tend to delay buying things even if I know such things could help me in creating good habits. The reason for this is because (1) I don’t have much to start with and (2) I just am not a fan of material things in abundance.

Designing a minimalist life

I will be a little rebellious to declare here that designing a minimalist life is a myth. Why? I’m talking about those architectures and interiors you see on Instagram. The minimal desks and everything. They’re all a myth for me because, in this modern world, we can’t not buy things.

I’m not just saying this because I easily buy into trendy stuff (I don’t). I’m saying this because there are and will be moments in our life when we will fill our houses with clutter at some point.nHaving a new baby is slightly chaotic (emotionally, physically, mentally), for instance. There are things we need to buy like groceries and probably some clothes. There are also things that other people give or gift us that would be rude not to accept. So even though you want to design a minimalist life, you can’t stop people from wanting to give you things and that’s not such a bad thing.

Keeping minimalist principles

Minimalism, in its essence, is a principle. It’s not just about clearing and throwing away everything. It’s a way of living.

Minimalism is in the way we interact with people and the way we reduce clutter as much as we can. It’s also in the way we talk and in the way we give and share what we have. How we schedule our activities and spend our energies. So it’s not just physical things. A minimalist life by design is multidimensional.

In Conclusion

Although we see around us how trends can affect our behaviors, it’s all the more important to discover or rediscover who we are and what we stand for. Working in a way that is in alignment with your identity or with who you are as a person results to much less resistance. You can always do your research and try out things that work for other people but until what point?

If work or life is exhausting you more than it should, maybe take a step back? See if what you’re doing right is a result of pressure? And from there, you can tweak your activities so you can do more of the things that light you up.

As a rebel, you of all people would know how much identity means. If minimalism is for you, use it to your advantage. If not, then use some other method that applies to you. There are no hard and fast rules to work and life. Just self discovery and experience that teach us what works and what doesn’t. And a little curiosity to make sure we learn something new along the way.