I was recently re-listening to one of Brene Brown’s books, The Gifts of Imperfection when I heard her say something so simple and profound, my brain had no choice but to perk up and listen more intently. Isn’t is crazy how we can hear or see something for a second or third time and always pick up on something different than we did the first time around? It’s probably the same reason I have a new favorite character on The Office every time I watch. While what Brene said wasn’t meant to be on the topic of minimalism, that’s really what it was, a very minimalist based solution for how to create more happiness in our lives without really doing anything for the most part. Here’s what I mean…
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Much like Brene Brown credits her major life changes to her spiritual awakening, I too aligned my minimalist journey with my spiritual journey. Through learning to live with less I found ways to let go of and heal my past as well as my limiting beliefs in a way that allowed me to launch myself in the direction of a more purposeful life.
In order to encourage others to pursue a similar journey I started a group called Spiritual Minimalism where I share advice and guidance on how to not only live with less but how to do it in a way that re-aligns you with your purpose and a more spiritual way of being.
If you love the idea of listening to and getting more content like this, check out the Spiritual Minimalism membership to see if it’s a good fit for you!
Happiness looks like
In the book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene talks about how she and her husband Steve sat down one night to talk about what their lives look like when things are going the absolute best. When their days run smoothly, their family is the happiest and everything feels “right,” what are they doing to make this domestic bliss happen?
They sat down together and made a list that went a little something like this:
- Eat well
- Make time for exercise
- Spend time together as a family
- Have a solid budget/financial plan
After they took the time to make out this list they came to the realization that they easily had access to all of these things right now. They were capable of making their best days happen with all the tools they currently had. Read: Where Can I Buy Long-Term Happy?
Happiness doesn’t have to be a future plan
Brene mentioned in the book how she and Steve both realized they didn’t need to achieve their long list of goals to be happy, or wait for some future date to feel like they had it all together. They had access to everything they needed right now.
No matter how many times or ways I hear this reminder, it seems I always need it.
Without realizing it I am so quick to let myself live in a place of striving toward some future goal where I believe all of my problems will be solved. On my good days I can catch myself, and ground myself in knowing that everything I currently have was once something I prayed for.
Tending to the foundation
The way I look at this is as if we are building a solid foundation of the things that matter the most to us and have proven to be effective time and time again.
Back in my party days…which to be honest barely existed…I used to drink Mike’s Hard Lemonade because, well, it was delicious. Without fail, I would wake up the next morning with a pounding headache even if I only had one or two in the span of 6 hours. It never failed. Yet, the next time I found myself out drinking I would order a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Flash forward to the next morning, I would be slapping my palm to my forehead going, “Oh yeah, they give me headaches. I forgot.”
So often we just keep living in cycles of habits that are not only not serving us, they are actively working against us. How much better would it be if we remembered how much better we feel when we drink more water and then just did that. I mean, in the grand scheme of life, drinking water is hardly something I would categorize as difficult.
The simple concept of asking ourselves, “What do I know works for sure,” is so much easier than we make it out to be. If all of us began doing this, we could steadily build a life that was already built with a solid foundation.
Keep in mind that a lot of times when we attempt to drink more water, we think we can go from a few casual sips at the drinking fountain to chugging a full-blown gallon sized amount in one day and then if we fail at this drastic change, we write ourselves off as a failure.
In other words, when you uncover what does work, you might go into hyper drive thinking this will be your new way of living, no problem. Like Brene, maybe you know you feel better when you exercise, but if you are currently spending 7 days a week on the couch from 6 to 10pm, there is a slim chance you are all of a sudden going to swap those days out for a 1 hour sweat session at the gym.
It’s ok to go for a 10 minute walk and not an hour long run. It’s ok to spend 10 minutes with each child if an hour long dinner around the table is out of reach.
Starting small with the things we know will work to create our solid foundation is the best way to start healing any cracks that might have been creeping in.
Set goals, but be happy now
All of this being said, I’m not saying that you should just settle for where you are and what you have. I’m saying learn to be happy and grateful for the basic necessities you know you need to live a well rounded life and then from that solid place of love, add on your goals and aspirations instead of thinking that the achievement of your goals will be the end all be all to your happiness journey.
Just like a house needs a solid foundation before you can build the walls and choose your paint colors, designing a purpose filled life starts by using a minimalist approach that requires you to simply start with a few ingredients that you know will allow you to grow in the direction you want to grow. (Yeah, that was cheesy, but whatcha gonna do?)