3 Ways to Begin Minimalist Relationships
BY ANITA MARTIN
I’ve recently been reading about minimalism. In many ways, the philosophy connects with where I am in my personal journey and life stage. Minimalism promotes a lifestyle focused on less consumerism and more personal meaning. Essentially, this means everything you own, your work, your home, and your experiences will ideally contribute to and result in greater meaning in your life. And, I believe it’s true that society thrives where we are constantly dissatisfied.
Personal discontent may drive us to unintentionally pursue and become obsessed with the latest trends in fashion, technology, housing, hobbies, and more. And, if this is your preferred lifestyle and it increases your quality of life, then it may be the best choice for you. Of course, it can be fun to include these activities from time to time. However, I see many people who are unhappy with life, who are seeking more. Some arrive at middle-age and deeply question life’s purpose and whether the life they live is remotely connected to who they are. They begin to seek more from work, home, possessions, experiences, and relationships.
In the past few years, my perspective has broadened beyond cultural definitions of success and the notion of “having it all.” While I did not fully embrace the premise that having everything is even possible, it has been easy to lose sight of those experiences and people that truly enrich my life.
With minimalism in mind, I’d like to consider our relationships. What if we approached them from a perspective of value, quality, and simplicity? How might these adjustments change our relationship choices? Would all of the current people in our lives stay, leave, or become less involved? To me, minimalism is integral to intention. If one chooses to live more simply, he or she does so intentionally. And, this is where relationships may need to be reconsidered. Are we intentional about those we include in our lives or do we simply accept whomever appears in it?
What are three ways to begin developing minimalist relationships?
1. Take a relationship inventory. Who is in your life? How involved is he or she? Is the interaction positive for both of you? Are your needs met through the relationship? If not, consider reducing the amount of time you spend and the types of information you share with this person.
2. Create limits in your relationships. This includes limiting or ending as necessary friendships, romances, family, or work relationships that may be toxic, one-sided, or otherwise unhealthy. And, yes you may have fewer people in your life. However, the ones you do have will be encouraging, supportive, and meaningful.
3. Only invite and welcome relationships that enrich your life. I cannot emphasize this enough especially to those with a history of toxic relationships. Toxic relationships are highly destructive to every part of you. They compromise your emotional, physical, mental, and financial health. Value yourself and demonstrate that by choosing healthy people with whom to share your life. And, if you need support to achieve this, seek help from a therapist.
Remember, minimalism encourages others to seek quality over quantity. For many of us, incorporating this concept may bring meaningful and peaceful relationships into our lives.
Image credit Anita Martin. Copyright 2016: All rights reserved.