Did you know that most of our stress is self induced? I think this might be especially true among minimalists. Why? Because we’re too busy making rules for ourselves and caring about little things that don’t really matter. There’s a subtle art to letting things go.
I was raised to make my bed every morning. And so I usually do. But just for an experiment I decided to not make my bed for a couple of weeks. Guess what? It didn’t really make a difference. My day still went the same.
Note: Recently, Mark Manson published a book called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@#&. Honestly, I haven’t read the book. In fact, I originally wrote this post nearly a year ago, as I schedule my posts far in advance. But a reader pointed out the not so subtle similarity to the title of Mark Manson’s book. This was not intentional, so I’ve added the links to Mark’s site and book as a bonus. My apologies for any confusion.
There Are A Lot Of Things That Don’t Really Matter
It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things that we wind up stressing ourselves out.
- Does it really matter if you make your bed every single day?
- Is the world going to end if there’s a little clutter on the kitchen table?
- Will you cause worldwide destruction if you buy another paper book?
- Will you really gain 10 pounds if you eat that one ice cream cone?
To think that we and our actions matter so much in the greater scheme of things is silly. It’s egocentric. I’m not saying that we should throw all caution out the window. I’m not claiming that you should stop living simply and do whatever you want. We should just lighten up a little bit.
Parents Have To Pick Their Battles
I was raised in a cult. There was no leeway. I did what I was told or I got a whoopin’. I decided early on that I wouldn’t raise my own daughter in such a strict manner. I’ve given her ten times the freedom that I had. Sometimes allowing her such freedom comes with its problems.
Some problems need to be dealt with. Absolute disobedience or disrespect are not okay in our house. But to fight over makeup, clothes, or food, is pointless. All it does is create more stress in the home. I haven’t mastered it, but I’m slowly learning the subtle art of not giving a fart!
It’s okay. I can be a minimalist and my kid can be a vegetarian. I’m not going to force my values onto her. Read my post on kids and minimalism.
It’s the same with everything in life. We often put too much stress on ourselves. We set unnecessary rules and deadlines. Life gets turned into a 24/7 job. It shouldn’t be.
There has to be a healthy balance. It’s okay to have times when you just don’t care. The lawn won’t mow itself, but a couple more days won’t hurt either. If you skip one day of exercise you might actually have a better workout the next day.
Minimalism Is Not A Subtle Art
The world does not revolve around you or me. We are simply a tiny part of a greater picture. Minimalism is not a subtle art. It’s a lifestyle that requires a good amount of self-discipline. It’s chock full of rules and guidelines. Minimalism is dogmatic. And it really won’t make a huge difference in the greater scheme of things.
This is why I always have, and continue to shy away from considering myself a full-fledged minimalist.
Sometimes it feels to me like minimalists give too much of a fart! And believe it or not, caring too much will only lead to more stress, something minimalists claim to despise. It’s just another minimalist dichotomy.
There are times when shit just doesn’t matter. It’s learning to decide when that makes up the subtle art that we could all practice a little more: The subtle art of knowing when to not give a fart!
Do you want to live more simply without all the hard and fast rules? I’ve written a free course that slowly guides you into a more simple and thoughtful life. Just click the link below to get started.