When I began my journey into minimalism, I read into what the lifestyle was all about, and why I should get on the train. Most people stated that minimalism was all about values. What is it that truly brings you happiness? What have you really wanted for yourself that you never got? What is important? For me, the goal I wanted to achieve was to have better relationships. In a lot of ways, minimalism helped me see what I was doing wrong and how I could fix my problems.
While minimalism couldn’t fix any old crummy relationships I used to have in high school, it did help me realize my current mistakes and what I needed to do to ensure that any future relationships could be successful. Rather than focusing on my possessions and myself, minimalism gave me a window into the feelings of other people and allowed me to take that into consideration when trying to build a relationship.
Prior to minimalism and in the early stages of my transitioning over, I didn’t seem to care much about what other people thought. I knew what I felt and what I wanted, and if someone couldn’t give me those things, then I would leave. The way I was acting hurt a lot of people, but I was so disconnected that I couldn’t bring myself to apologize.
As I dived deeper into the minimalist lifestyle, I found that changing this part of me was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t know how. Truthfully, there’s no set way to fix your relationships. You just have to walk into them consciously changing your method of communication in order to establish something healthy and beneficial.
“Over time, these negative relationships become part of our identity — they define us, they become who we are.” — The Minimalists
Sometimes, minimalism did the opposite of healing relationships. Not all relationships are going to be peaches and cream, and living this lifestyle helped me realize that. There will be some people that, no matter how hard you try to communicate with and understand, you can’t connect with. In situations like this, you have to value your own needs over pleasing someone that isn’t going to make your life better. Sometimes this means breaking a heart or letting someone down, but you learn to move past these relationships once they are over. When they’re gone, you can finally look back and acknowledge a difference in your life that wouldn’t have happened had you kept that unhealthy relationship around.
Living a life that is centered around yourself won’t allow you to grow in the ways that you desire. Living a life surrounded by people that don’t value your time or feelings also won’t allow you to grow in the ways that you desire. Societies are built on communication and function. All relationships in your life will be built on these things, regardless of whether it’s a coworker, friend, partner, or family member. Teaching yourself to value who you have around and removing the people that aren’t helping you gain happiness will always lead you to a more successful and more peaceful life.
Marnie is the sole writer and editor for “With Love, Marnie,” a storytelling publication about making the most out of life through minimalism and positive living. Marnie is the author of “a black and white rainbow,” a poetry book about love, loss, and coming out. Purchase Marnie’s book here and follow her on twitter here.