Do you own your life? If not, who does?
Sometimes it is hard to admit that we live our lives at the beck and call of other people.
In my case, I realised that some of the things that were supposed to be making me happy (a big house, a marriage) were dragging me down and making me miserable.
In our society, we’re very much given a “one size fits all” map to happiness.
We’re told to study hard, then work hard. Get married, and seek the biggest mortgage we can get. Get the biggest car loan for the newest, most expensive car. Have the biggest wardrobe, the trendiest clothes.
None of these choices are bad, but they all come with a price. They steal away our energy, our time, our effort. Our lives here on earth here are short – do we really want to spend them in search of more and better and bigger stuff?
Surely there’s more to life than that?
Ask the big questions, and live a joyful life
At some point we have to ask: do we own our lives? Or do our lives own us?
Once we start to simplify our lives, and see our belongings as the stuff they are, everything changes. The magical sway it all held over us vanishes. We begin to be able to choose to own less.
Minimalism stems from the belief found in many religions that people are worth more than things.
Think about that for a moment: people are worth more than stuff.
Likewise, a person’s value cannot be judged by what they possess.
This is something I’ve believed my whole life, but it was only when I started to really grok minimalism that everything fell into place.
I began to understand why my friends came from such an assortment of backgrounds. Some are rich, some poor. Some educated, some not. I count among my best friends the daughter of a billionaire, several millionaires, and several people on benefits. I know Professors and people who never graduates from high school.
I’m happy that I value people on their character, not their wallets. It says something profound about me, as a person – something I am proud of. Maybe I’ve been on the right path all the way along. I just never realised it.
Embrace who you are, and own your life
Owning your life is all about inner strength. It’s about being comfortable enough in your own skin to NOT follow the herd. It’s about being daring enough to be who you are, without the fancy car or the big house to prove to others that you are acceptable.
It’s scary, taking those first steps. But often you find that, once you start on the path to a simple life, you’ve actually been walking that path all your life. You just didn’t know it.
Own your own life. Be proud of the great person you are. Be comfortable in your own skin.
A simple life isn’t about a look, or a style, or a certain number of garments in your closet. It’s about you, being you, being honest in an overloaded, busy, crazy, muddled world.
To choose a simple life is to recognise the humanity in others: the challenges, big or small, that we all face. It’s kindness, and courage, and openness, and generosity of spirit. It’s a move forward.
So move forward. Be the person you truly are, without the trappings of what others tell you to be. You are worth more than the stuff you own. So be brave, and be you.