At the very core of minimalism is the idea of embracing âenoughâ: figuring out what is truly important and useful, and letting go of the rest. We often think about this in terms of the things we own, but actually itâs more than that. Minimalism is not just about having enough. Itâs just as much about being enough.
Being enough means finding contentment and acceptance with our lives the way they are right now, in the present moment. Thatâs not to say we donât want things to be different, nor is it dismissive of the fact that change can be good and worthwhile; itâs more about letting go of expectations.
Itâs about finding happiness in the present, rather than pinning it on the future (Iâll be happier when x). It all comes down to enjoying the journey rather than focusing solely on the outcome â which may or may not happen as weâd like it to.
Thatâs not to say itâs easy! Weâre hardwired to dream and scheme and plan, wish things were different, imagine what the end result will look like before weâve actually done the work, and compare ourselves to others.
Unlearning those habits is a big task. Being aware is a much easier first step.
Here are 5 lessons that minimalism has taught me about “enough”.
1. âI have enough. I do enough. I am enough.â
There is so much that needs changing in the world, and of course I want to do as much as I can to help make it happenâ¦ but I can only do so much. I used to lament about how I should be doing more, but Iâve realised that this made me stressed and ultimately more unproductive â I was almost frozen with fear and doubt.
I canât do everything, but I can do somethingâ¦ and that is a whole lot better than nothing. That is a great place to start.
Whatever I do, I am content that at this moment, it is enough. When I was worked up about not being able to do everything, even one extra thing seemed like a huge burden. Iâve noticed that when I feel more relaxed that what I do is enough, I start to notice these things as opportunities to do just a little bit more.
2. Comparisonitis is a waste of energy.
I love using social media as a way of spreading my message, and sharing the messages of others. But Iâm also aware that it can be a slippery slope towards getting comparisonitisâ¦ which is where we start to think we arenât enough. We start to feel bad, and think about what we can do or buy to make ourselves better, rather than accepting that we are the way we are.
Remember, the images and stories we share on social media are (usually) a curated snapshot of the best or most interesting things in our lives. When all these images are put together, the feeds we see can be overwhelming. Being exposed to a constant stream of how much fun everyone else is having (which isnât so much the reality as the perception) can negatively impact our feeling of self-worth.
I try to follow only people I find inspiring, who keep things (mostly) positive and have a practical focus. I keep the aspirational lifestyle stuff to a minimum. I also avoid checking social media when Iâm feeling grumpy or stressed. It helps keep comparisonitis to a minimum.
3. You donât need likes, follows or shares to be complete.
Itâs great when other people like and comment on our feeds â itâs confirmation that weâve touched someone else with our thoughts or images. Who doesnât enjoy those shared connections? But chasing approval shouldnât be the focus or the why.Â Thereâs enjoyment and satisfaction to be found, regardless of the approval of others, in the process of writing, creating and sharing.
Personal satisfaction keeps us going when the things we share maybe donât have the responses weâd like. Worrying about winning the approval of people you donât even know is a distraction.
Appreciate the likes and comments and shared connections that you do have, and be thankful for them, because behind the likes and emojis are real people who genuinely care about what you say.
4. Do what feels right.
This is as much about gut instinct and intuition as it is about figuring things out on a completely practical level. Just because someone else doesÂ things a different way, that doesnât mean thatâs what is best for you. For example, Iâve read articles that have told me that the ideal blog post is 500 â 700 words. I donât think Iâve ever managed to squeeze what I want to say in so few words! And guess what â people still read what I write!
For me, that was less than enough. I am comfortable with a little more. Another example: I cannot fit my entire possessions in a suitcase, and I have more than 100 things. But I donât feel that I am tripping over things I donât need, so I am not chasing less. I am happy knowing that for me, this is enough. It is not a competition.
5. Donât let feelings of less than enough hold you back.
Our own journeys and our own stories are just as important as anybody elseâs. When I first started contemplating blogging in 2012, I nearly didnât start because I saw Beth Terryâs blog and thought: well, sheâs already covered everything so well, what more do I have to offer?
Later (once Iâd started blogging, but still in the early days) I began embracing minimalism, and I wasnât sure whether I should write about that because people like Joshua Becker already do an amazing job.
But then I wondered: maybe thereâs a place for me, too?
Maybe I donât know everything about living plastic-free, and maybe I have too much stuff to be a minimalist, but I still have something to add to the conversation. Itâs not about being the best.
If Iâd worried about not being the best, Iâd never have started, and Iâd have missed out on so many great experiences, lessons and connections.
Minimalism is about far more than simply getting rid of a bunch of stuff: it’s a whole new way of thinking. I’m not perfect at any of these, and I still slip up, but being more aware of finding “enough” within myself has made me more positive, boosted my productivity and increased my happiness.
I never realized when I first decided that I had too many possessions that the journey I was about to embark on would be so rewarding, and have such an impact on my life. But it has, and I’m grateful.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the idea of being “enough”? Do you associate minimalism with the idea of being enough, or do you focus on the idea of having enough? Do you focus on another idea entirely? Where do you sit on the positivity-and-acceptance-of-yourself scale? Do you focus on the successes you’ve had, and the satisfaction that you get from just doing? Do you get bogged down with comparing yourself to others, or wishing things were different? How do you deal with the knowledge that there’s always more to be done? Have you any experience of using mindfulness techniques, and have they helped in your journey? I really want to hear your thoughts so please leave me a comment below!