Have you ever felt like there is something holding you back from achieving happiness and fulfillment in your life? Perhaps you should try sitting in an empty room. Okay, not a literal empty room – I’m using it more as a metaphor for minimalism.
Which might sound funny if you’re new to minimalism. I think a lot of people who aren’t familiar with minimalism as a lifestyle think of it very much as a literal empty room, where minimalism equals having as few possessions as possible. Then they’re surprised when they walk into the home of a minimalist and see that, actually, they have things. But they’re not just any things. They are things that have been carefully considered and weighed, then finally deemed valuable enough to keep.
So, no, minimalism is not just an empty room. However, as it turns out an empty room is a really great metaphor for what minimalism allows you to do.
The Empty Room Metaphor
First, let’s think of a room. Perhaps you put a bed in it; now, it’s not just a room, it’s a bedroom. It has a specific purpose and comes with some rules and restrictions. For example, it’s a place for sleeping, perhaps also where you store clothes, etc. You probably don’t do things like cook breakfast or use it as a sitting room for when your in-laws come to visit.
Up until you put the bed in the room, however, that room had (almost) endless possibilities. Some of those possibilities were removed the instant you put the bed in the room. Now that the room has been designated for a certain purpose, it’s hard to see past its restrictions and open it up again to those endless possibilities you had when it was empty.
But remove the bed, and those possibilities are a little bit easier to visualize again. And this is, I think, the greatest benefit of minimalism. By removing those things that impose rules and restrictions on our lives, we open our eyes and minds to other possibilities, perhaps ones that might make us happier or more fulfilled.
Where Minimalism Comes In
Minimalism isn’t just the removal of possessions, but also things like responsibilities, relationships, thoughts, habits, and expectations. These things impose certain rules and restrictions on our daily lives, some of which may be welcome and others, maybe not so much.
When you start to clear away all of these things that are potentially holding you back, it allows you to stop listening to all of the noise and ask yourself what is probably the most important question you ever will: “What do I want from my life?”
Of course, you can ask yourself this without taking the ’empty room’ approach and first removing all of these things. But it seems much easier to find the answer to that question when there is less noise and clutter distracting you or pointing you in a specific direction. Minimalism is one way that you can focus on what’s important, step away from what’s been imposed on you, and more clearly see all of the possibilities that life has to offer.
Are you ready to start simplifying your life and focusing more on what matters? Try my free 30 Day Simple Living Challenge! It’s a great way for a beginner to start taking small steps towards minimalism and building habits that will have a lasting, positive impact on your life.
Featured photo by Breather on Unsplash
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