We need much less than we think we need – Maya Angelou
I have spent the last 30 years chasing the happiness rainbow in stuff and in success. I have felt up until this point that the more I do, the more I am. It has left me mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. Sometimes I feel that I don’t have feelings at all.
I recently decided that it is time to discover simplicity and bring out the positives and happiness in my life. The things that money and long hours at an office can not buy.
Minimalism is such a relief. Just the word tastes so sweet on my tongue. It brings a smile to my face as I type.
Happiness is free. My happiness is found in:
- The smell of a homecooked meal
- My daughters giggle
- Oversized sweatshirts & yoga pants
- Watching the sunset
- Getting lost in a great book
- Laughing with my family
Some of these things can not be bought with any money at all. So why then, do I [and you] spend so much effort on making more and more money, chasing a dream that can not be bought, when our happiness is right in front of our eyes. It is not found in boxes under the bed, or storage containers in an attic. These possessions that we put so much effort and time into are totally perishable.
Make a list of everyone and anything in your life that you adore. It is ok to add a physical item- but this must be something that you truly can not live without.
List the stuff that you use every, single day. From clothes, utensils, makeup, plates & cups. These things need to be what you grab from the time you wake until the time you sleep.
Make another list of the items that you just simple love even if they are not used everyday. Wall art, a good book, a sewing machine.
Let everything outside the above three lists go. This is such a scary step. I am currently working on this right now in my life. I can tell you — I have purged and purged and purged and do not care to so much as look back. I feel lighter and happier everyday with out things holding me down. I still have a long way to go here, but a work in progress.
If you just can’t bring yourself to let go, box it up for 60 days. If you haven’t needed it in two months, or forgot what you even put in the box, it is time to let it go. This way it is an easier transition to get rid of this stuff.
The things in the first three lists may include:
- Gifts from people whose feelings you don’t want to hurt
- Sentimental items that you can bare to part with
- It’s easier to keep than to let go
- Just in case items
- Duplicates in case the first thing breaks
Getting rid of the stuff in our lives is a serious process. Some things we KNOW we can just let go. The others take a little more time to part with. This is ok. It is a process after all. Fear easily takes over and tells us that we won’t be enough if we don’t have enough stuff. Fear says that if our neighbor has it, so should we. Fear tells us that we have to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our true happiness to gather more stuff. Then we just store our stuff in debt and guilt and work even harder to cover up our mess by getting more stuff.
We give up happiness to buy more junk.
I want to spend my days with the ones I love and enjoy the moments more than the junk in my life.
Keep focusing on your first list of your true happiness. You will find they are not found at a department store. It is not found after dark at the office. It is not found in debt. Remind yourself daily. Fear can and will take over if you lose sight of happiness.
Your heart is bigger than you fear. Your love is greater than your stuff. You are already enough without material possessions.