Before you became a minimalist, what was your life like? My guess would be not that good. Maybe you felt confused, lost, and even hopeless. If you’ve seen the documentary “Minimalism, A Documentary About The Important Things”, it was the same for Josh and Ryan, which led to them choosing to be minimalist and sharing their message with the world.
It feels like there’s a theme in all this. Everything we do impacts everything in life.
Your minimalism first impacts you. When you started doing something intentional with your life, it changed the way you felt. For some of you, you probably stopped feeling useless or feeling like a failure in life. For others of you, you probably stopped feeling like life was meaningless. Maybe it even saved your life as it was falling down a dark path.
Because you stopped in the midst of all the chaos of your clutter and bad relationships, and took the time to think about your life and what you really wanted, it gave you a new sense of purpose. And because of that new sense of purpose, you have more happiness than you’ve ever had before.
The simple act of you choosing to organize your desk or clear out your closet has made you feel like you’ve accomplished something. In a world that’s so often out of control, you were able to take control of something and make it exactly the way you want it. And now whenever you look at that space or corner you cleaned and organized, it makes you smile. Your life has changed for the better, which causes a chain reaction that goes far beyond the walls of the room you decluttered.
2. Your Loved Ones
It impacts your family and friends. When people who love us know we’re happy, it usually makes them happy. I think back to the documentary again, where Nick has a moment where he wonders why Josh is so happy. And this led to Nick sharing with Josh the idea of minimalism, which helped him to be happy too. Our happiness has a way of either rubbing off on people, or making people want to change their lives.
But it’s not just what people notice in us because of our minimalist lifestyle, it’s what we notice in them. As we choose to be more aware of how we’re living, it makes us more aware of how others are living. And sometimes that awareness can be critical. I think of a story I heard somewhere where a kid planned to commit suicide because he kept being bullied, but then one person chose to stand up for him and become his friend, which saved his life.
The meaning of minimalism is being intentional not just with our space, but with our relationships too. We’re more mindful of how people around us feel. We make intentional choices to be kind and helpful to others for their happiness.
3. The World
It impacts the world. The intentional choice you make to live with less impacts the environment and humanity as a whole. The clothes you decide to give away goes to the kid in need whose parents don’t have enough to buy him a new shirt. The books gathering dust can get to light up another child’s imagination with joy and wonder about the world. Some people theorize buying less causes less greenhouse gas emissions with companies not having to transport new products as often.
In addition, for those of you simplifying through zero waste, limiting plastic helps. This stops polluting our oceans and harming the beautiful sea creatures on our planet. So they get to live for our next generation to see.
What you and I do matters. That’s the meaning of minimalism. My own simple choice to write this post mattered to me being happy in doing the thing that I love to do, which is writing. My hope is that this post in return will make someone feel inspired to do more in their minimalist lifestyle and feel happier. And imagining all the good that can come from what I’ve written, or the good as a result of whatever you’re inspired to do, is nothing short of beautiful, and the true meaning of minimalism.