Are you comfortable with who you are? Are you happy in your self-identity and with your values and beliefs about life? Do you like who you are and what you have done with your life? Or do you wonder who the real you really is?
It’s Not You That Is the Problem
If you are feeling out of touch with yourself, lost, and unsure what you really want out of life, then perhaps it isn’t you that’s the problem.
Maybe it’s your stuff.
We identify ourselves with what we own. If we love to read, we buy books. If we love painting, we buy brushes and paint. But sometimes what we love and what we buy can be at cross-purposes.
Have you ever bought a piece of clothing hoping to slim-down into it?
Or a new piece of hobby-equipment, only for it to be left in a corner gathering dust after the novelty of the first few weeks has worn off?
Sometimes we can get so stuck in the process of buying for what we think we are, or what we want, that it encompasses everything. Endless knick-knacks and things to decorate our homes with, constantly searching for the right hygge blanket to accessorize the new sofa, endless toys for our kids who already have too many. Kitchenware for our beautiful kitchen even though we generally eat out or heat-up meals rather than cook at home.
Stop The Madness
Advertising sells to us by preying on what we want. We want to be smarter, sexier, more accomplished, funnier, and richer. For each of these things there are a million adverts out there that will convince you that their product will be the final thing you need to give you what you crave.
What’s left at the end of it all is a growing sense of dissatisfaction, a smaller bank balance, and still the nagging feeling that we don’t have enough.
There is nothing out there that you can buy that will turn you into the person you want to be. But stopping the shopping is not as simple as not going to the shops any longer. It has to come from a deeper place inside ourselves where we finally understand that we don’t need external things for internal validation.
Minimalism Clears The Path
One of the beautiful things about minimalism is that it gives us the opportunity to find out who we really are. If you’re feeling lost and confused there is nothing quite like stripping everything away to help you focus on what is going on inside.
These feelings are not always positive. Sometimes when we declutter we discover a huge array of difficult emotions coming to the surface. We want to refill the empty space with stuff. We can be grumpy and irritable, thinking that minimalism has taken away our joy.
What is actually happening is that instead of being distracted by all the things in our life, we are now faced with the reality of ourselves, sometimes for the first time since we were a child. This can be a very troubling and even frightening process to go through and it can lead us running back to the nearest outlet to stock up on emotion-numbing goods.
However, if you can ride the storm, if you can sit and just “be” with all those uncomfortable feelings, you’ll notice something amazing happens.
The Real You
As the dust settles in your newly decluttered life, you’ll see a new version of yourself. The one you had forgotten existed. You might remember things from years ago that you enjoyed, or feelings that you worked hard to hide. Maybe you are an introvert and have spent your life compensating by forcing yourself to be the life and soul of the party (I was definitely guilty of this).
Perhaps you have always placed emphasis on material goods yet deep down you’ve always wanted to farm alpacas! Minimalism allows you to get back in touch with the real you. The person that you’ve inadvertently spent a lifetime trying to cover up and hide. Suddenly, there you are in all your glory.
And if you can get through the difficulty of that period of self-acceptance, and not run a mile from all the cracks that you feel like you need to plaster over (with stuff), you will come out the other side a better person.
Self acceptance is both the key to, and the result of, deep decluttering. By freeing yourself of physical and emotional clutter you can finally begin from a point of clarity. If there is something that needs improving you can view it with compassion and begin to make habitual changes that will last.
The real you is a person buried under a life of expectations and layers of things to fulfil those expectations.
So have a think about who you really are and how well you know yourself.
A useful exercise is to imagine that everything you own is gone.
Imagine a life stripped bare and then think – what would that feel like and what would you do?
What could minimalism teach you about how you really feel and what you really want to do?
Just do it
Even better than imagining it, just do it. Unclutter your life and your head. Sort through your stuff and the years of needing things you don’t need. Strip things back to basics and find out who you really are.
You might be surprised.
You might just find that you do love the real you after all.
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