I'd love to call myself a full-fledged minimalist, but the term seems to be so severe that I hesitate to pin myself as one just yet. However, for the past year I have made minimalism a priority in my life and how I view my possessions and purchases. Leaving my full-time office job has put a lot into perspective regarding what really matters and what I should be spending my money on instead of what I think I should be spending it on, as suggested by the advertisements were are inundated with on a daily basis.
Minimalism has become a big trend in the last year (sometimes only for aesthetic purposes), so I thought I could dedicate a blog post to developing a minimalist mentality rather than just feigning one for Instagram.
Need Vs. Want
The best lesson my mother taught me (though I wouldn't have considered it great at the time) was understanding 'need' and 'want' when it comes to how I spend my money. In an ironic turn of events, having been taught this lesson backfired when I got older and started making my own money because I then understood a salary to mean that I can spend it on all the wants I was deprived of as a child.
This is a big mistake! Don't let yourself fall into the delicious trap of seeing something in a store window and buying it for that instant gratification. This develops an appetite for trivial objects that can never be satiated because there will always be a new trend or new gadget. It's important to understand that what you want at any given moment isn't always necessary for your life to function smoothly. Distinguishing 'need' and 'want' may seem simple, but the concept can get muddled when fashion, makeup, or any retail for that matter, is taken too seriously.
You'll live without that shade of lipstick. I promise.
Finding Your Quality Of Life
We all want to live a certain kind of life, but it's important to understand that we can't live every kind or all of a certain kind. Compromises must be made to ensure that you are living a life that encapsulates your core values and still provides some enjoyment. A quality life to me is making a living writing while also having time to spend with friends, family, and my boyfriend. Writing isn't the most lucrative profession, so some compromises would have to be made in order to allow me to earn enough to support myself. This is where limiting my purchases and really being critical of where and how I spend my money becomes vital. It's all about finding balance, so if (for example) you genuinely enjoy going out for dinner at least once a week, then something else you spend money on will have to fall by the wayside.
Valuing Your Hard Work & Money
Making money is hard, but spending it is incredibly easy. What you spend that money on should make all your hard work worth it. Throw-away purchases made out of boredom isn't showing yourself the respect you deserve for the work that you do. When I understood that money was the product of all the annoying customers I was dealing with or the tedious orders I was processing I recognized that I deserved to spend it on things that increased my quality of life, not things that I would regret buying soon after.
Understanding Who You Are Outside Of Your Possessions
It's easy to fall victim to the mindset that you are nothing without your clothes, car, house etc., but that's how your possessions start owning you instead of the other way around. I like to think that my personality is much louder than any clothes I could ever own, so why try to outshine it with trends that are forgotten within a week's time?
I'd hate to judge anyone who enjoy fashion because it is a type of self-expression and art, but attaching your value to types of clothes and their prices is incredibly superficial and detrimental in the long run. You are the same person with or without that designer handbag or perfectly distressed jeans. You shine whether or not you buy that sequin dress on a 50% off discount. And people will still care about you even if you don't spend a month's paycheque on their Christmas gifts.
I think it's time we understand our worth instead of stuffing it to the back of the closet like the rest of our unworn clothes.