It feels to me like some folks think that turning minimalist will make them happy. But happiness isn’t achieved. Just as we won’t gain happiness from buying stuff, we also won’t gain happiness by eliminating stuff.
Would a dining room like this make you happy? Really? It’s clean and white. It’s simple. But my old beat up 1890s pub table with three old beat-up chairs serves the same purpose. Does my dining room make me happy? No. It simply serves a purpose.
People have grabbed onto the idea of turning minimalist in the last ten years. It’s become trendy. Part of that trend has been this false idea that getting rid of all your stuff will make you happier. That’s not true. Happiness is found within.
Why Turning Minimalist Won’t Make You Happy
In general, nothing outside of oneself will make one happy. If you hate the place you live, chances are you’ll hate the next place you live. If you think your job sucks, you’ll think your next job will suck. We’re creatures of habit. If we habitually have a bad attitude, we’ll continue having a bad attitude.
Turning minimalist will not make you happy if you’re not already satisfied with how you’re living. Here’s why:
- Minimalism is a lifestyle, not a fix: If you look at minimalism as a fix, you’ll never be content as a minimalist. If you desire a simpler life, you have to make simple living a habit. Otherwise, you’ll discover that you feel as miserable as a minimalist as you did with oodles of stuff.
- Getting rid of stuff is no different than getting stuff: When we buy a new computer, we feel a temporary surge of excitement. We might even say we feel happy. But it goes away. It’s the same when you get rid of stuff. You’ll feel good when you let that junk go. But in a few days, that feeling will dissipate.
- Happiness is found in the process, not the result: In my free ebook, The Happiness Of Simple, I discuss how happiness is found in the process. I feel good when I complete a blog post or a book. But I keep writing. Why? Because it’s the act of writing itself that provides me with a sense of satisfaction and contentment. So if you sell all your stuff overnight, you might feel a short sense of euphoria, but it will quickly fade.
- There’s good and bad in everything: When you discover that some aspects of life are much harder after turning minimalist, you might be less happy than you expected.
Happiness Is Overrated And Fleeting
I tend to stay away from extreme highs and extreme lows. Chasing this illusive idea of a perfect life is a trap. The key to feeling good about your life is acceptance. In order to feel good about change, we need to learn to feel good about the present moment.
This isn’t to say that you’re going to be content living in poor conditions. But if you can close your eyes and imagine a better situation, you can begin to work toward positive change.
I’ve lived minimally most of my life, but accumulated more stuff when I started a family. I know that living in a small space with very few possessions can simplify life. But would it make me happier? Not really.
I was as happy with less as I am with more. Would having less stuff make my life less stressful? Absolutely. I can envision and work toward a situation where I’ll live simpler than I do today. It’s the process, not the result that brings me positive feelings.
If we chase happiness, we’ll never find it. Just be content in the here and now.
Learn more about happiness and simple living in my free ebook, The Happiness Of Simple. Just click the link below to get started on your own simple-living journey.