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Losing my father in 2016 and becoming a mother a little over a month after his passing somehow changed the way I want to live my life. One day, I just woke up like a different person and became more mindful of life.
My father lived a minimalist life. I can also say that he was truly a Buddhist in his ideals without knowing it. He didn’t own many things (in fact he only owned a few things that would literally fit in a suitcase) because material things didn’t matter much to him.
My father showed me the definition of what I perceive as Minimalism–being able to live and enjoy life with nothing more than what you need. He was never worried of what he didn’t have and only tried to make the most of what he had. Yes, he died “poor” of material possessions but even if he was rich, he would still choose to live his life with just a few things.
I’m not a minimalist guru but I think, the core idea of Minimalism is getting rid of your life’s excess and valuing what matters more than the material things, to improve your life. It doesn’t mean, though, that you have to live in a small cottage in the woods and only live with the bare necessities of life. Some people may take it to that extreme, but not everyone who embraces Minimalism has to take it that far.
You might think, why “sacrifice” when you can take advantage of luxuries available to you or when you can afford them? That makes sense also and that’s a way of life you can choose. But for me, there are far more benefits to living a Minimalist life both for your own happiness and finances.
I am embracing minimalism because:
I adore the peaceful, and unhurried life that my father lived. I want to live mindfully. I want to improve my finances.
I find that switching to Minimalism can help ease my struggles to reach financial freedom.
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Benefits of Minimalism that Can Change Your Life
1.You focus more on life and on what really matters.
Have you ever experienced foregoing an opportunity to have a vacation because no one can look after your house or your possessions? Or because you are terrified to lose your stuff?
It’s true what they say that the more you own, the more owns you. Material possessions tie us down and can rob us of time or opportunities to have fun, to do things that matter more.
I realized how much time I lost hoarding and maintaining stuff, which I could have used to focus more on life. Perhaps on making friends? Making meaningful conversation with great people? Go somewhere and make memories?
When we have less stuff, we tend to gravitate towards the things that matter most and happiness that money can’t buy.
2.Freedom from Greed is Weight Off Your Shoulders
These days, it’s easy to fall into consumerism. There are tons of products available for just about anything, for every occasion and situation. And we easily fall into those ads of products telling us that we need to consume them because they make our lives better. I don’t know about you but for me, jumping into consumerist lifestyle in the hopes of bettering our living can only make life more complicated.
I looked back on my father’s life and I realized how different we were from each other. I WAS “attached” to the idea that the more I have the better I am, thinking that they could improve me, that they defined me as a person. I realized how wrong I was.
Now, I let go of that greed ( that desire to have more) and I feel so much better and lighter inside.
3.Less Stuff Equals More Money
One of the obvious benefits of Minimalism is it helps you free up some money. The lesser stuff you need, the more money you can keep.
By switching to Minimalism, you can free up some money for more important things such as paying off debts, a family vacation, or saving for an emergency fund.
This is also one of the benefits that attracted me to Minimalist life (apart from increasing happiness). I want to maximize the small income that I earn and put them in places that allow me to enjoy life, instead of spending them on things that only provide empty or temporary happiness.
Have you ever looked at how much excess stuff you have? At how much money and time you actually spent to get them? Or how much time you have to work to maintain or keep your possessions? I bet you’ll be surprised to realize that you actually spent a ton of money and time for them.
Minimalism can help you put more money into your pocket through the following ways:
- Buying less stuff
- Maintaining and storing fewer possessions
- Selling excess stuff or clutter
- And freeing up time for extra income
By needing less stuff, we don’t just reduce our spending but also the time we spend for shopping and for keeping them. Essentially, by embracing Minimalism, we get to free up more time to spend on other things that matter more such as family, rest or hobbies. In other words, we get more freedom from work and freedom to do things that we like.
5. Decluttering Promotes Good Health
Minimalism promotes good health in so many levels. When we declutter, we lose that claustrophobic feeling and create space to breathe. Then, we conserve the energy we normally spend on dealing with our possessions, which means we can have more energy for hobbies or passions that make us happy.
Decluttering can also improve your mental health. When I got rid of some of the clothes that I no longer use, I honestly felt free from the weight of keeping those extra stuff. I also felt better thinking that some people in need could make use of my things.
6.Greater Focus and Clarity Equals Better Productivity
Since you have less stuff to deal with, you have greater focus and clarity which, for a freelancer like me, is important to boost my productivity. It’s like watching your favorite TV show without the ads and other distractions!
7. A Boost in Self-esteem
Sometimes we seek self-esteem in the wrong ways, such as buying more stuff to make us feel better about ourselves, make us feel prettier or better than others.
I admit, I used to cling to materialism hoping to boost my self-esteem. I knew it was wrong but until you finally let go of that obsession and greed of material possessions, you will feel and know what I mean when I say “you don’t need to have a lot of stuff to feel good about yourself.”
By embracing Minimalism, I realized how easy it is to have self-confidence because you lose that obsession to compare yourself to others. You feel happy about yourself because of who you really are and not because of the things you wear.
The great thing about Minimalism is that there are no right or wrong ways to downsize your life. What adds value to your life may be different from mine, so you can create your own Minimalism and you can choose how far you can go.
You may be surprised that these benefits are far greater as you go deeper into the lifestyle.
Over to you–is Minimalism a lifestyle you would choose for yourself and family?
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