Why Simpler is Better
How striving for less taught me to love myself more.s
In a world where more is deemed better — more success, more money, more followers, more of more — choosing less seems highly contradicting.
Over the past year, I’ve proudly identified as a minimalist. Most of my family and acquaintances dig it, and some of them tease me about it. To some, having under 100 pieces of clothing or a shower that contains only one type of soap and one shampoo is deemed impossible (especially from the women in my life) or a sign of light obsessive-compulsiveness.
Minimalism is a movement that has skyrocketed in the past few years, and it has guided thousands of people towards pursuing purpose-driven lives. Everyone has a different way of living this out, and that is one of the things that makes it so great.
I discovered that by shaving off excess in my life, I got closer to true self-love and acceptance. By removing the things that cloud my vision of the life I wish to create, that consume my time and swallow my savings, I found the space to dig deeper into myself and my aspirations.
Minimalism allows you to remove the excess in your life in order to focus on things that provide true value — happiness, freedom, and fulfillment.
— The Minimalists
Simplification spawns intentionality, and intentionality inspires purpose — and anyone can benefit from simplicity regardless of ethnic background or socioeconomic status.
So what steps did I take in order to simplify my life, and get clear on what really matters? Read on below.
“How Does this Look?”
Each time I put a piece of clothing on that didn’t give me that “I look great” feeling, I donated it. Now that I live with my partner, it is also much easier to get a second opinion on whether or not a piece suits me.
And if it’s not comfortable, goodbye.
Spare me the Steps
When it comes to makeup, I’ve never had the skills nor patience.
In the last year, I watched countless videos trying to teach myself to contour and draw a flawless eyebrow. Except the thing is, every time I applied a full face I never felt comfortable. But I always have in the super-light and (actually) easy routine that I’ve perfected since high school.
Oh, and the same goes for those 12-step skincare routines, extensions of this and that, mani’s and pedi’s, crystals to smooth your face and all of the other things we are tricked into thinking we need to be desired.
These purchases and the constant search for more-more-more masks a void we choose ignore and it undermines the things that truly do beautify us: our thoughts, our character, our spirit, and our intelligence.
Less to Choose From
What applies to clothing also applies to my pantry. When it comes to food, I know what I enjoy and I am aware of my dietary needs (thanks to the help of a registered dietician). I know what my body digests best for optimal fuel, and when I am properly fed, I feel energized and confident. And that’s all I need.
I don’t do food box subscriptions and my staples are very basic. They also take me far with just a bit of creativity. By knowing my go-to's, I save time in meal preparation and can put those minutes to better use.
Since the pandemic’s arrival, the gym is a no-go for me. Not in the sense that I gave up on fitness, but rather that I invested in the equipment essentials that I needed to successfully workout at home.
No more commute, no more monthly fees, and no more paying for a rented space that has everything I also have at home (including, but not limited to: showers, mirrors, and other members — ok, my cats).
The gym isn’t the only subscription that I’ve parted with — many streaming sites, newsletters, and social media accounts also got the boot.
By choosing to use fewer platforms, I can focus on using the ones that are actually beneficial to my writing goals and utilize them to their full advantageous purposes.
Growing social accounts that inspire reflection and positivity rather than highlight reels and social judgments have put me in a much healthier headspace. And I have loads more time to do things I enjoy, such as writing, reading, and learning – instead of scrolling to numb my feelings.
Close-knit Circles Only, Please
I love my family and my friends with all of my heart.
And my love for them remains, even if I don’t attend every birthday, every celebration, or every outing that comes up.
By choosing to accept select invitations, I ensure the ones I do attend are memorable and a great time. A line needs to be drawn somewhere, and that line doesn't quantify my love for them — it only outlines my boundaries.
And nothing equates self-respect quite like boundaries do.
If there’s one important thing home confinement taught us as a collective, is not only to pause but also examine what we are rushing back to.
The world has changed — online shopping is now safer and much more practical than going to a store. Unnecessary expenses are removed from monthly budgets. The waiter with two face masks and latex gloves probably doesn’t inspire you to eat out anymore, so you learn to cook at home.
Commutes to offices are now deemed useless and you save loads on gas or public transport fees.
The new world limits our excesses and forces us to be content with what we have and where we are. If this isn’t how you feel in a current situation or location, then it is up to you to examine why and take action accordingly.
On a conclusive note, true and radical self-love will only be available to you once you shave off the things that distract you from your true purpose and consume your attention. Give yourself the gift of more time and free yourself from the material items that weigh you down.
Once these constraints lift, the veil that once blinded you from yourself will reveal that all you’ll ever truly need, is already inside of you.