Conquer Your Fear of Less
We've all found ourselves packing for a trip, worrying that we'll need something, and cramming it in. But once we return home, we realize that we actually used about half of what we brought, needlessly carrying and keeping track of all the rest. If only we could have lightened the load right from the beginning!
That crowded suitcase is a symptom of fear. Fear makes us hang on to our stuff. It makes us nervous about not having enough for our needs. It makes us anxious about forgetting our loved ones or the highlights of our past. It prevents us from practicing creativity, resilience, and adaptability. Fear keeps us from reaching out to others, whether to ask for help or to offer it. Our fears rarely materialize, but we often let them control us.
It is fear – not minimalism – which narrows our world and makes our life experience poorer.
Minimalism helps us realize how little we actually need. It helps us identify the perfect Goldilocks balance of enough and no more.
Many of us are blessed with no experience of actual deprivation, so we don't really know where "enough" begins. Our culture pushes us to keep increasing and upgrading what we have, no questions asked. Yet when we muster enough courage to let go, we feel free. And if a need does arise, we find that we can improvise, borrow from a friend, or simply manage to do without.
Author Patrick Rhone says, "Enough comes from trying things out. It comes from challenging your preconceptions. It comes from letting go of your fear of less. It comes from letting go of the false security of more."
Why not experiment with minimalism? See what it's like to live with less, and conquer your fear by doing things differently for a limited time. Don't think of it as deprivation – call it research. The fact that you've defined a trial period soothes your anxieties, because you know you can always go back to the way things were. But if you keep an open mind, you might discover that you don't need all the extras and back-ups after all.
6 Experiments in Living with Enough
1. Box up half of your dishes, pots and pans, and cooking utensils for a month or more.
Are your cupboards lighter and cleaner as a result? Do you have more space on your worktops for kitchen tasks? Are you still able to cook and serve your go-to recipes? Is there something you really miss having, either for convenience or for a favorite once-in-a-while cooking experience? Or are you happier with less?
2. Box up half of your clothes, shoes, handbags, beauty supplies, and accessories for a month or more.
Are you still able to dress and care for yourself adequately? Are your closet and bathroom easier to keep in order? Do you find yourself being more creative about the outfits you put together? Do you feel less stress about what you will wear each day? How does having less affect your laundry chores? Is there something you really miss, or are you happier with less?
3. Box up half of your knickknacks and/or wall art for a month or more.
Does your home feel bare, or is it still adequately adorned? Do you find yourself noticing and enjoying the items that remain more than you did when more was displayed? How does having less affect your dusting or other cleaning chores? Is there something you really miss, or are you happier with less?
4. Box up half of your children's toys for a month or more.
Do they still manage to entertain themselves? How does this impact the creativity of their play, or their ability to share toys with each other? Does it make any difference to the level of mess and stress in your household? Is there anything they really miss, or are they happier with less?
5. Remove a piece of furniture for a month or more.
Choose the desk that has become just a clutter-catcher, the chair no one sits in, or a curio cabinet or bookcase. Do you miss it (and the things it contains), or do you prefer the open space?
6. Live in fewer rooms for a month or more (just close the door).
If you also close off the heating/cooling vent, do you notice a change in your energy bill? Do you miss the extra room, or has the closed door made you realize that you rarely went into it?
Understanding that we need less than we think we do in order to live happily and comfortably is quite a revelation. It's freeing and life-enhancing.
Why not try an experiment with less today?
Photo by Jefferson Sees on Unsplash