Does having less mean having more?
By: Monica Ahuja
The practice of Minimalism has become increasingly popular in recent times. The images that some individuals visualize when they think of Minimalism is a person sitting in an empty room on the floor, or an individual carrying a backpack with all their belongings while lacking a place that is conventionally considered a home.
Although, there are some individuals that practice Minimalism in such a manner. It is not necessary to do so, like many practices and beliefs, the practice of Minimalism can be performed on what one can consider to be a spectrum.
There are of course what can be considered “extreme” practices of Minimalism. However, the truth is many Minimalists do not practice in such a manner.
But first, what is Minimalism? Essentially, it is a way of living life deliberately.
This means that one retains what brings value to them and their life while discarding the excess. And Minimalism can be thought of in terms of both material goods and the immaterial parts of one’s life.
The intention of Minimalism is to live life deliberately so that one can focus on what really matters in life. Of course, this means different things to different people.
Thus, the way one practices minimalism depends on the individual. And like most practices, one can learn and improve their practice, so that it best fits their goals and desires.
How can one practice minimalism? And why would one practice Minimalism?
Well, Minimalism can be practiced in a number of ways and for several reasons, depending on the individual.
There are some individuals that discard all their physical items for a bag full of clothes and other essential needs, and attempt to achieve their dreams. They live a nomadic lifestyle.
There are also those that adopt Minimalist practices for environmental reasons. Others want to buy less and consider the reasoning behind their purchases and/or remove the clutter from their life.
Some individuals use Minimalism as a path to a happier and more fulfilling life. They believe that they can meet their needs through human connection and spending time with the people they love rather than focusing on material things.
These are only several reasons and ways to practice Minimalism.
Many Minimalists believe that people attempt to fulfill a void in their life with lots of items. Furthermore, it is also believed that people buy items because that is what they are told to do, by the media they consume.
In capitalistic cultures, having more items is indicative of one’s person (who they are) as well as their status and role in society.
So, are these items bringing us the things we truly need? Or do they bring us temporary “hits” of satisfaction, so that our underlying dissatisfaction and needs remain buried under the clutter of items we have collected?
What do we truly want and need as humans? What makes us happy?
Can we get there with less? Do we need more?
Who is really benefiting when one obtains a given item? Who are the people most important to us?
How do we bring value to each other’s lives? These are some of the things that Minimalism considers.
Fundamentally, Minimalism encourages thoughtfulness and deliberation by asking you to consider what you truly need. One does not necessarily have to call themselves a Minimalist to incorporate the ideas of Minimalism in one’s life.
This idea applies to one’s relationship with oneself, as well as other individuals in one’s life. For instance, it is possible for Minimalists and non-Minimalists to be in relationships and/or live with each other because the individuals have respect for each other and their beliefs.
The principles that are involved in the practice of Minimalism are intriguing and inspiring for many. However, in reality there are some individuals that do not have the opportunity to choose to have less.
In some ways, being able to practice Minimalism is a privilege because one is not constrained by the worry of discarding things. Oftentimes, people that practice Minimalism can discard, donate, give away, and remove things from their life and buy them when needed.
There is a privilege in choosing to have less.
Similarly, there is a privilege in choosing to buy items that are more expensive and of better quality so that one can choose to have less. Therefore, it is important to recognize the implications of practices such as Minimalism.
Additionally, those that question the tenants of Minimalism may also ask, does having less truly make one’s life better? And if so, how do you know that Minimalism is the thing that has made your life better?
And what if having more items adds value to one’s life? What if one is truly happy?
And what if one lacks a gaping hole in one’s life and just happens to enjoy having stuff?
These are all valid points. And there are many more points to consider when exploring the discussion around minimalism.
Despite this, ultimately, the question we need to ask ourselves is, does less truly mean more?
There is no clear answer. It is up to you to decide.