Why do I call myself a minimalist? What attracted me first to this idea of simplicity, of living with what is necessary but nothing more? Why do I write this blog, or pare down my belongings? What was the honest, true reason for starting this journey?
Back when I was working in management, I’d begun to become disillusioned with the retail model of selling people more than they needed to increase profit. In the interests of honesty, which is of course what this post is about, I’m not going to cover up the fact that I felt that sales buzz when I persuaded a customer to part with a lot of their cash. But that short buzz, the thrill of beating target after target… it wasn’t based on anything with heart. The sad, stark bottom line was that I was using my words, my being, to line the pockets of shareholders. For what reason? Well, for the same reason as many retail businesses. To make more money, not to promote good in the world. To make more money for money’s sake.
Being surrounded 24/7 with the adverts and promotions of a typical shopping centre made me realise that we didn’t really need any of this stuff that we were being told that we did. All those hyper-saturated advertisements, the 3 for 2 offers, the gold cards… they all hid a monotone, macabre bottom line. And, to live a life honest to my changing beliefs, I made the decision to leave it all behind.
Honesty is important. In our interactions, in our doing, and in our being. To live an authentic life, we must take that leap to be truly honest. Not just with others, but with ourselves, too.
Too often, I find myself changing my persona to fit in with people’s views around me. To avoid conflict, I smile and nod at things that internally, I inherently disagree with. Sounds stupid, right? And if I’m honest with myself, and with you, it’s because I’m terrified of being disliked. And I’m sure there’s a whole lot of fodder for a few intense therapy sessions right there! Why do I continue to play this multi-faceted personality? Well, why, indeed?
Honesty is uncomfortable. Honesty throws up emotions difficult to deal with. It shines light on dark truths and forces us to work through issues and challenges we don’t really want to confront. But the result is a life true to our real beliefs, not those we put on for other people.
I call myself a minimalist because I truly hate the throwaway culture. I can’t stand the way people consume more and more just because we are told to. I am enraged by advertisers creating a reality where they knock us down just to pretend to build us up again with the next new world-changing product. I am saddened that money drives the world. I’m idealistic and you know what? Honestly? I love that. I love to sit and dream of a world which, in my little personal view, is better; a world built on respect and cooperation and sharing and love. Idealist, yes. Honest? Also, yes.
I don’t want to get to 90 and know that I’ve lived a lie. I don’t want to live a life of what-ifs and regrets. And so, I realise I need to face my misguided fear of unpopularity and become aware that in the grand, eternal scheme of things, it really, really doesn’t matter. I want to make my honest experience here the best that I can do, for myself, and by being my best self, hopefully shine that honesty out of my soul and forever on, into the world.