A minimalist lifestyle is relatively easy to achieve through downsizing if all you ever say is the word no. It is so simple to say. No, I won’t buy that new dress or No, I won’t accept that gift, or in my case, No, I won’t buy more bangles.
No, I won’t complicate my existence with more ‘stuff’. In fact, I won’t collect anything at all. Who needs things anyway? I won’t paint the walls in more than one color, I’ll stick to white. I won’t accept that book, I have too much to carry.
Having “too much” suddenly became an obsession on my downsizing journey. As a result, I have suddenly realized that what I have really been doing is simplifying my attitude to things. Not the stuff itself. What gets very challenging is when I want to say yes.
Yes is such a positive and energizing concept and that is the shift I am making in my mind as I downsize the possessions in my life! So, rather than consistently saying no to things as I learn to simplify, I am now changing the lens, making a choice and saying YES to everything I love.
For me, downsizing is not about denial and austerity. I simply now have learned how to say no to things I don’t love. And what does love in that sense mean? In true Marie Kondo fashion, I keep the things that make me smile and bring me joy! I also keep things that make someone I love smile. It has nothing to do with my self-image or how other people perceive me. There is no desire or need for validation.
The philosophy of choice is grounded in mindful self-awareness and self-value. For me, making a wise and honest choice is at the heart of the simplification process. Beginning to realize that having less is really about appreciating that every ‘thing’ I own reflects something deep and true – for me. If that truth is bright and vibrant and even complicated – that is simplicity.
If you choose to keep 15 headbands instead of 3 or 20 pairs of shoes instead of 2 it’s ok. For me, that represents simplicity – as long as the choice is authentic. As I get a little older, I realize that simplification is not about the number of things, it’s about the attitude to things.
In 2008 there was a movement called the 100 Thing Challenge. A man called Dave Bruno was at a conference where the topic of freedom and the reductionist lifestyle came up. He asked his Facebook followers if minimalist simple living could have a united purpose. It did and turned into a book and many lives were changed.
I am sure many people found joy in simplifying their lives to 100 items. But to be honest, I am beginning to believe that it is not about the number of things or activities or people. Having 100 things or 1000 ‘things’ is not the point. What matters is the lack of attachment, the freedom from obsession with style and need for external validation.
For me, its just a commitment to make choices that validate what is true to me. So next time I am in India, I am absolutely planning to purchase more bangles and bindis.
So it is not “Just Say No” – its “Just Say Yes.” Those are the three magic words. Downsizing is a lot more fun if you don’t feel you are denying yourself the things you love. In my opinion, it’s just about being absolutely authentic about what you love and want to keep in your life. Say yes to your beautifully unique and complex self and let your possessions reflect that.
Do you think that simplification has less to do with the number of things you own than your attitude to them? Have you said no to things you later regretted throwing away? What does your downsizing journey look like?
Tags Downsizing Your Life