We all like to have validation for our choices, and this includes the choice to live a minimalist lifestyle.
Unfortunately, in our quest to feel as though we are doing the right thing by downsizing your living arrangements and de-cluttering your life, we often move to the point where we judge others who don’t live the same way.
It’s easy to find studies that point to the problems caused by excessive consumerism and to say, “See? My lifestyle is better for everyone!”
However, it’s important to be careful about your minimalism. You don’t want your delight in simple living to turn into arrogance because you’ve found the “better way.”
Recognize that Minimalism Isn’t Everyone’s Preference
Sometimes, when we live according to our principles, it’s easy to come across as overbearing. I remember one time when I said, with some asperity to another person, “We don’t do that in our home.”
That statement, and the tone it was delivered in, judged the person I was speaking with. In reality, I didn’t need to say anything at all. Or, if I did comment, it could have been a simple, “That’s great it works for you. Here’s what works for us.” A simple (and respectful) re-phrasing could have made the moment one of teaching and explanation — and mutual sharing.
Instead, I’ve spent the intervening years feeling somewhat foolish, regretting that I was judgmental, when I shouldn’t have been.
The same principle applies to minimalism. Just because you enjoy it, it doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. Not everyone is ready to — or even wants to — get rid of their stuff. My husband is a homebody who loves things. While we have a lot less clutter in our home when compared to some others, we don’t fit the mold of “true” minimalists. My husband likes to be surrounded by his favorite things.
There are plenty of others that have similar feelings. Not everyone wants to get rid of most of their possessions and travel the world. And that’s ok.
However you manifest your minimalism (and you don’t have to get rid of everything) is your business. And remember: The others choose to live their lives is mostly their business.
Remember: Your Focus Should Be on YOU
Another thing to remember is that you should be participating in minimalist and other activities because they appeal to you, and you feel it makes your life better. Your focus should be on living your life on your terms, rather than trying to “convert” others to your way of thinking.
This can be difficult, since there is an instinct to try and get friends and family to join you in your lifestyle. Additionally, there is a fine line between explaining your lifestyle to loved ones who don’t understand, and becoming defensive about what you do. It’s important to keep calm, and focus on the fact that you enjoy your lifestyle, and that it works for you and your family, while acknowledging that not everyone wants the same things you do.
Have you judged others for their lifestyle choices? What do you do when others judge you for your choices?
Image: StockMonkeys.com via Flickr