By – Linda Ibeh
By plain definition, minimalism is “INTENTIONALLY trying to live with only the things one really needs”. “It is the intentional promotion of the things we value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality and as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.
In recent times, the need to have a lot of material possessions in order to validate our purpose in life has been the bane of existence for a lot of people. Living has become a race to determine who is first to buy a new car, purchase a designer item, build a house, visit a location, get married, date the finest person, or who buys the latest or customized phone first. It has become a rat race.
This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with owning material possessions but the problem in this time is the importance we assign to our possessions which has led us to forget about our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, our ability to contribute to something beyond us.
Minimalism helps to eliminate our discontent, be in control of our time, live in the moment, pursue our passions, discover our missions, experience real freedom, create more and consume less, focus on our health, grow as individuals, rid ourselves of excess stuff, discover purpose in our lives. Minimalism helps us discover happiness not through things but through life itself.
Minimalism is freedom from the addiction to constantly possess. Modern culture has cooked up and sold the lie that the good life or happiness or fulfilment is found on the accumulation of possession as much as one can. It sells the belief that happiness can be bought at a store and downplays the importance of valuing relationships, experiences and soul care.
The modern mania only recognizes “go,go,go”. We live at a feverish pace. Constantly hurried, always rushing, always stressed. We work for long hours everyday of the week, we work passionately in order to make enough money to pay the bills but instead we incur more debt to our name. We multitask because of the pile of things we have to do and still never get everything done. We stay in connection with others through our expensive phones yet true life changing relationships elude us. We lose sight of the important things of life in this “go go go” process and by the time we realize it, we are 50, have all of these things society has endorsed that make us “happy”, yet we feel a void. Minimalism helps you slow down, and frees us from this modern craze to live on the fast lane. It seeks to maintain only the things that are essential and significant and discards frivolity.
Although some people dont intentionally plan this, we tend to be different people with different persons ; family, colleagues, friends, strangers…and why is that? We have been programmed to be a certain way for certain people to find you acceptable to be certain kinds of things or for a certain status. Hence a quiet person at home is loud with friends and a totally different individual with their employer. These classes of people demand a different version of you to fit with the profile that they have created of all status hence if you are a responsible father, you “must not have dreadlocks and must be gentle”. If you are applying for a position, you must look a certain kind of way and talk another kind of way before being accepted. Minimalism is freedom from duplicity.
Minimalism help people live a certain life that is united and consistent. Its lifestyle is completely transferable to every situation. Its the same life Friday as it is Monday, its the same person in church as it is in school or work. The same. It is reliable and dependable and not prone to fluctuation. Most of all, it works in all situation/circumstances.
We live in a world that idolizes celebrities. Their lives are held up as the golden standard and people scramble to look up to them. They are championed by the media and anyone who doesn’t fit into the standard that the media is promoting does not get a second of their time. Minimalism is internal and not external. It calls out to us with a smaller, quieter and calmer voice. It reminds us to slow down, consume less and enjoy more. Usually, when we meet someone living a simplified life, we often recognize that we have been chasing after the wrong things.
It is up to you to determine what is necessary and superfluous in YOUR life.
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and
vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art”. Richard Holloway