I’m in a rut as of late and I think I’ve finally identified the cause: after a year of decluttering and creating space for what’s important, I have yet to clearly define what minimalism is for me.
Currently, I look to others’ adaptations and imitate them for a while. This creates discomfort immediately, since these lifestyles took years to cultivate and reflect the goals and aspirations of people with different priorities and passions. I’ve undermined what’s important to me because it’s not important to people who inspire me, and I find I’m increasingly discouraged. Instead of integrating the concept of minimalism into my lifestyle, I’m allowing it to take the driver’s seat in an extreme way: Get rid of everything. Buy nothing. Live with the items you already have, even if they no longer bring you joy.
In short, I’m allowing others’ interpretations of minimalism to influence rather than inspire.
Just as I came to this realization, I found a post by Courtney Carver about the sins to avoid when simplifying your life. At the top of her list is comparison, which is exactly the saboteur I’ve attempted to describe. Says Carver,
When you compare your efforts to others, especially others who are years into the process, you discount the progress you’ve made and the benefits you are experiencing.
I’m so focused on the end game that I’ve forgotten to enjoy the process. And by not clearly defining what my end game is, I’ve made the journey more complicated by comparing it to others.
Comparison and fear of judgement go hand in hand, especially when dipping your toes into the unknown. Concern for what others think — or more accurately, what you think others think — will always be a roadblock to progress and personal growth. It’s challenging to be inspired by others’ journeys while accepting that your path is not going to look like their paths. Once you define what’s important to you, only then can you manifest a truly meaningful life.