Third, emotional clutter becomes painfully obvious. The discipline required to adopt minimalist practices carries over into other parts of your life, and you learn to be disciplined about your relationships. And like you’ve broken up with things that caused you stress and took up space, you can break up with friends that cause you stress and take up space. In my case, I started to limit my social engagements, made space, and let a very valuable relationship into my life. The more important this became, the more obvious it was that relationships with wonderful people were nonetheless just taking up space in my life that wasn’t filled with love. You know, the friendships that keep you busy, but don’t add or inspire much. We’re all responsible for that.
Though I’d never describe myself as a controlling person, believing there is little one can control outside of yourself and your household (if you live alone) – like I controlled and filled my space looking for fulfillment, buying more clothes and objects I must arrange and organize, I collected friends. I gave them advice and led them and tried to make them fit into my puzzle and felt just as encumbered by them as I did all my possessions. Setting boundaries has always been a struggle for me as a naturally open minded and friendly person. Now, I try to sit back and actually listen to how I am feeling, to observe people instead of trying to arrange them to work for me. It is a challenge for me, but I already feel better as I learn.
Truthfully, when I feel stressed and pressured, this desire for minimalism obsesses me. I get what I’ve always called my “incredible hulk” feeling still. I get overwrought and literally want to break out of my skin, just so full of thoughts and agendas and lists and things I have to do. Hence the more I’m used to having a select less and the more I keep selecting down – the feeling comes back, I want to go further. Sometimes minimizing is on the list and ultimately I feel like the journey will be done and I’ll cross it off and be this more prolific, creative person. But I know it’s more than that – it’s just the way I need to live for the rest of my life. So the biggest thing I am learning is discipline.
Marie Kondo dictates that when we have a troublesome time letting go of something, we can thank it for its service and let it go. Greg McKeown has similarly helpful advice, to ask what you’d pay for something you already own – often you wouldn’t have taken it for free. We overvalue things that we already have. With peace, I’m learning, I thank the things, thank the friends, you’ve taught me so much and I can let you go. And along with letting go I can let go of the me who was trying to do everything and didn’t know exactly where to look for herself yet, the herself I’m finding.
Part I here.
Part II here.