The Problem With Labels: Why I’m Not Really A Minimalist

I know I’ve referred to myself as a minimalist on this blog. I’m not really. I do have every intent to continue to scale down the way I live. I am passionate about spreading the ideology of simple living. But to call myself a minimalist comes with too many dichotomies. This is the problem with labels.

When I created Hip Diggs, I struggled to come up with a subtitle for the blog. I wound up choosing, “Live Simple,” and I’m glad I did. Why? Because it’s an action statement, not a label.  

As a blogger, I’ve been challenged with finding a niche. I went through a handful of niches and titles on a variety of different blogs. Something always felt wrong until Hip Diggs. It was the problem with labels. I was constantly trying to label myself.

Don’t Turn Yourself Into A Label

Labels box us in. They force us to act in ways expected of anyone who calls themselves a minimalist, a republican, or a democrat. Labels create boundaries and division. Especially labels that come with socially-perceived expectations. I even have a hard time calling myself a Christian for this very reason. I prefer to say I believe in Christ.

I call myself a teacher, I call myself a writer. I call myself a musician.

I don’t see those terms as labels. I see them as part of who I am. They are things that I do. They are inherent, my nature. They are actions. But to be a minimalist? What does that suggest that I do? Minimize? Make things smaller? Less important? 

See? It doesn’t work. If I were truly a minimalist, would I write so much? Would I use social media as often as I do? Would I own a 1200-square-foot home and an extra vehicle? No, I would live more minimally. I would continually minimize until I had nothing left. That’s not a bad goal, but it’s a journey, not a definitive. 

Labels Steal Your Freedom

Minimalists talk about gaining freedom by letting go of possessions. I agree that there’s a lot of truth to this idea. But if I call myself a minimalist, I’m locking myself into one box. This doesn’t allow me the flexibility to be all I’m meant to be. I’m more than a minimalist. So are you.

Do you label yourself? Most of us do in one way or another. But think of what that label might be doing. Is it helping you to grow? Is it holding you back? Is it creating a preconceived image of yourself to others? Does it have negative stereotypes attached to it?

No, I’m Not Really A Minimalist

I’ll continue to refer to minimalists and minimalism on this blog as it helps to describe some of the concepts I communicate. I’ll keep my link to my definition of moderate minimalist on my About Page. I’ll support others who use the term minimalism to describe their lifestyle. But I’d rather “Live Simple.” I’d rather help others to live simple. So shed your labels and just live simple.

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