The seemingly obvious part of minimalism, is downsizing the things that we have in our life that no longer (or perhaps never did) add value, and while that was (and still is) a journey in itself for me, I wondered, what others ways could I evaluate what adds value to my life and what doesn’t.
Were the relationships, habits and ideals that I had adding value to my life – were they benefiting and/or challenging me as a person to grow, were they supporting and uplifting me, were they healthy, did they align with the short and long term goals I’ve set for myself? So on and so forth.
While I mentioned in my previous post that going through and decluttering material things was difficult, I’ve found that decluttering our life of relationships, habits, and ideals that aren’t adding value presented itself to be even more of a challenge. It’s easier to toss out an old shirt than to address problematic beliefs, behaviors, or relationships that we may have. And moreover, sometimes we may not realize that the “old shirt” in the back of the closet needs to go.
Being an journalism major and communications “guru”, I’ve always seen the importance in connecting digitally. I’ve had a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (among other social media applications that have since fallen off the radar) since as long as I can remember and I’ve built a brag worthy following on all of those sites due to my engagement with others from around the world. It wasn’t until about November of 2016 that I noticed that social media was becoming exceptionally problematic for me. I’d wake up check my social media, continue to do so while I got ready for work, glanced down at a my phone every few minutes during my commute to work, and wasted more time than I’d care to admit during the work day interacting with people online, and then do the same on my way back home from work in reverse.
*Clears throat* In my defense, I often was having important conversations online, whether it was a hot button topic, such as gender roles (the infamous “Who’s making the plate” convo was always a hit on Twitter), or a conversation regarding race relations in our present society. I told myself that my heavy usage of social media was “excusable” because I was being “purposeful”, I wasn’t just tweeting nonsense, I was contributing to an important dialogue..
Yeah, ok Devin.
As much as I wanted to avoid it, it was very easy to get caught in drama or someone else’s business when your on social media. We live in a society of complete overshare and even if you aren’t actively seeking it, you’ll see something and then then next time your with friends the conversation turns to, “Did you see what so and so said on Twitter?”
*gossip gossip gossip*
Nah, I had enough and identified that this was an entity of my life that I needed to get rid of if I wanted to continue to strive for simplicity and happiness. So I deleted it, and to my surprise (a person who once said they’d never get rid of Twitter), I don’t miss it at all.
You’re probably thinking, “Okay you deleted Twitter, bravo, but what else have you done?”
To keep things brief, I’ll use a list format:
- Stopped engaging in negative dialogue: Take that as you may, but really if it’s not positive or productive, I remove myself from it and if I can’t for whatever reason, I remain silent.
- Taking Time to Enjoy Things/Moments/People: Not rushing! I’m so guilty of waiting to the last minute to do things or rushing to meet deadlines that I forget to enjoy the process and pay attention to details. I’ve been more purposeful in slowing down and “smelling the flowers”.
- Using Affirmative Words: Even jokingly, I used to say some pretty negative things about myself, especially my body, now I make sure to compliment myself and others daily!
- Stop Spending Recklessly: This ties greatly into the decluttering aspect of minimalism, but I don’t buy just because I have the money or just because it’s one sale. I’ve been better about waiting and “sleeping on it”. I appreciate the things that I have so there’s rarely been a want for more.
- Evaluated my Relationships: Probably the hardest one, but “tell me your friends are and I will tell you who you are,”.. removing toxic relationships is so essential to growth, that I have had to keep my distance from some.
Overall, minimalism is applicable to so many aspects of my life, and it’s important to know as a reader of this blog, there’s no one way to do this. I’ve sat down and determined what I need to change in my life to live more simply and happily. Everyone’s path is different and valid. Take your time and enjoy the journey.