Thursday, February 18, 2016

Minimalism to the Core: Emotional Minimalism (Part 2)

So, after a couple of comments on my last minimalism post (read it here), I realized that I never made my definition of minimalism clear. I love material minimalism. Material minimalism is a route to finding happiness through simplicity in your surroundings and in what you own. Everything has a place, it is kept well and clean, and you use everything. You use all of your clothes, all of your food, all of your home space, all of your animals (if you eat them) etc. Material minimalism is one way of being a minimalist. That is the minimalism I mentioned in the beginning of my last post, when I said that visually a nice clean pile of stacked white towels represented minimalism to me. Pretty much the entire rest of the post was not about material minimalism. I was talking to my sister about what it was I was really trying to say in that post, and she coined the term emotional minimalism. Emotional minimalism- finding happiness through simplifying your emotional attachments...this can include emotional attachments to materials, but definitely is not bound to just that. Emotional minimalism is, to me, minimalism at its core.

In my post, I mentioned that I was having a hard time wanting to "home-make" by buying paintings that would have brought me a lot of joy, all because I didn't want to have to experience the loss of that joy if I ever had to be without those paintings (I'm weird, I know). I felt worried about feeling at home anywhere, and then having to leave that home and have emotional pain over it. The same with loving someone. I feel stressed when I feel so much love towards my girls and husband, because what if something happened to them. I don't know if I could make it through because I am so emotionally attached to them. I said that people around the world are forced into lives of minimalism---I meant emotional minimalism. People losing close ones to accidents and cancer. People living lives of poverty and starvation. People suffer immensely, and almost all of it goes unseen. These people suffer---there is no question. Everyone suffers in one way or another, emotionally.

So, in so much suffering, how can we find joy? How can someone like me, who worries about loving things and people too much, just because I don't want them to leave or get taken away, enjoy life? I can become an emotional minimalist. So many people around the world who have suffered find joy in this form of simplicity and minimalism. They look to God, and they let go. That is all that I want to be able to do. I want to love everything about life to the full capacity that I can, and not hold back at all. That is the romantic side of me speaking, because that is so hard for me to do. It is so much easier to say, they might not love me so I'm not going to love them. I don't want them to leave me so I will leave them first. I don't want to ever experience having this break, so I will never buy it. I never want...etc etc. But that is not life. That is torture. So I want to be an emotional minimalist. I want to simplify all of my emotional attachments so that I can not stress so much and enjoy life. I want to put my life in God's hands, and be able to just let go. I will love fully when I can, and if something leaves or gets lost or breaks, I will look to God, let go, and re-build from the bottom up. I think that is what God wants us to learn to do in this life. Love, let go, and rebuild.

Hopefully that cleared things up a little bit from my first Minimalism to the Core post!