It’s been a rough season for me. Most of life is filled with good days and bad days; the good days are nice- I want to get outside, I play with the kids, I read books and laugh at my husband’s jokes.
But most often over the last couple months it’s been bad days, and they’re really bad. I found myself angry and overwhelmed, the kids demanding… well, probably not any different than the other days, but it feels like they are draining every ounce of energy just by saying “Mom,” which is said 1,496,054 times a day anyway. Nothing in the house seems good enough- the dust in the corners makes me feel ashamed, the normal daily chores seem to scream at me, I don’t have the energy to do the dishes or even take a shower. And my husband’s good mood grates against my nerves like fingernails on a chalk board.
Overall, I have an amazing life. If I stop, and step outside of my situation to evaluate my life, I’m blown away at the gifts that have been placed in front of me.
But sitting in my own skin, I’m dissatisfied. I’m sad. I despise myself. And I desperately want to crawl back into bed and wallow in self loathing and self pity.
The paragraphs above were written a couple months ago, during a particularly rough time for me emotionally. There wasn’t anything that triggered it, it wasn’t situational depression. It was just depression.
Sharing these feelings with you is not easy for me, but I want to be real with you:
Embracing minimalism doesn’t solve all your problems.
Yes, getting rid of the excess in my home has dramatically reduced the amount of weeks I spend in a depressed emotional state, but it hasn’t completely removed it from my life.
I don’t want to discourage you from decluttering. It does make a huge difference to have clean, clear surfaces in my home, to not be overwhelmed with a sink full of dishes. There is major relief in seeing the kids room (mostly) orderly through the day, rather than the chaotic disaster area it had been for years.
But I don’t want you to be shocked if depression and anxiety still visit you.
Minimalism doesn’t automatically give you friends, even though your schedule is free and your home is inviting.
Minimalism doesn’t make all the fighting cease in your home, if the relationships are tumultuous.
Minimalism doesn’t fulfill the space in your soul that longs for meaning.
What does minimalism do then?!
Minimalism removes ability to hid behind your stuff. Often we use our things as a mask, so we don’t have to face or discover who we really are.
Minimalism is about bringing yourself back to balance with your true authentic self, with nature, and being mindful about the way you live and making sure the choices you make are pono [righteous]. ~the minimalist kanaka
Minimalism frees your time, money and energy to search for the meaning you long for. You may feel there has to be more to this life, but the day-to-day grind takes all your resources, so you never are able search for what you long for.
The greatest sources of comfort that limit our embrace of meaning and purpose in our lives are our distractions. I never looked at distractions negatively when I was busy accumulating things. Why would I? Possessions were a kind of distraction. The problem is not solely the distraction. It is mostly found in what motivates us to pursue a distraction. ~Minimalism For Regular People
Minimalism takes away many of the “cares of this world” so you can devote your time and your thoughts to much more important things. When we have too much stuff, we often spend our day shuffling things, or preoccupied with all the things that need to be done… The running to-do list and is continually growing. Embracing minimalism takes away all the superfluous of our lives, so we are free to read, learn, be creative, volunteer, etc.
When you clear out the unnecessary activities and items from your life, something unexpected happens. A clear sense of purpose returns. You feel motivated to do what you’ve set out to do because your direction is clear and there is no confusion. When you only have a few commitments, you can take them seriously. ~No Sidebar
Minimalism helps you enjoy the time you have at home. For the cluttered person, being at home doesn’t equal joy or contentment. No, when we are in a cluttered state, we think that “if I could just get the right furniture or organization supplies, I would like my home more.” But it’s a lie! More things or different things are not going to change that situation. Rather, it’s less. It’s evaluating each item for how essential it is for our life and only allowing things in that are essential. It is when we pare down that our mind begins to see that contentment comes from not wanting, rather than not having.