So I watched a documentary on Netflix called 'Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things' last night, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. Firstly you should definitely give the documentary a watch because it's only an hour long but I learnt and thought so much in that sixty minutes.
It mainly focused on two men called Joshua and Ryan who call themselves minimalists. They only possess what they need. They justify everything they own in terms of their usefulness or capacity to make them happy. They lead a simpler life and source their happiness from that. I really admire their dedication and watching them really set a spark off inside of me.
What I also found really interesting was their exploration into advertising and the consumer industry. We are all conscious of our desire to consume. We have all bought something just because it was in the sale or we wanted a bit of therapy. We've all regretted spending that money the morning after. The industry plays on our vulnerability and obliviousness. It is their job to make us feel like we need more. They make us believe that there is a standard set that we need to fit into. We all need to be more successful, own more clothes, own a bigger house and earn more money. As humans we can all agree that we're greedy and are never satisfied with what we have.
When I was anorexic, all I wanted was to be skinnier. Enough was never enough. One day I'd be satisfied with my body and the next I'd want to be even skinnier. It was only temporary happiness because I never reached a state of stability. Similarly now, my goal in the gym is to gain muscle. I forget to look at where I started, I don't appreciate my progress enough because I always want more. We're all chasing unrealistic goals of happiness.
I'll fall in love with a dress and claim that I've never seen something so beautfiul and then the following week I'll repeat myself with another dress. It is all fake. When I think about it, the only times I've ever been truly happy is when I've been laughing, when I've felt loved and when I've been surrounded by my friends and family. No item or material object has ever given me true happiness, only fleeting moments of what I think is happiness.
From the moment I started my blog I told you that all I dream of is freedom. I want to feel free in aspects of life. I don't want to be restricted. I don't want to feel like I need anything to be happy. I don't want to live by rules or standards that I don't believe in. I don't want to be anyone but someone that I love. I don't want to be moulded by someone elses ideals.
And I do believe that minimalism can bring you more freedom and happiness. I'm not saying chuck out all of your clothes and belongings. But focus more on the immaterial parts of your day. For one day, or even one week, focus on those those things instead and see if it makes a difference to your mood. When you let go of unnecessary stuff, you let go of that stress and that need to always have more. You understand the simplicity of it all. I can safely say that I appreciate the little things and can find happiness in more than material things, but I still have more to learn.
I'll scroll through Instagram and wish I had that outfit or that house. My feed is an entire collection of consumerism. I'll get wrapped up and suddenly have five new outfits in my basket and a million new photos in my Pinterest boards. Everyone wants to show off what they have. It feeds my negativity because it makes me feel like I don't have enough. These people look so happy because they have everything but if we look deeper, it's not true. Why do we feel like we have to show off what we have? Why do we have to own a certain brand? If that top wasn't in season would you still like it?
I'm not afraid to say that I spend a lot of time on my phone. I am so aware of it and ashamed of it. I always feel like I need to be looking at something or holding something. It is simply a habit of bordeom. But I really want this months goal to be about changing that. I want to educate myself on something new, read a book and get lost in another world or create something instead! Just taking one hour out of my day and putting my phone down to watch this documentary made me feel so refreshed, (but of course I had to write down all of my thoughts in my notes straight afterwards).
I could never be a minimalist. I appreciate it and take inspirtation from it. I love fashion, I love reading and watching movies and I love having my memories scattered everywhere. These things bring me happiness so I could never rule them out. But I do want to make small changes to my life. When I think about buying a new outfit, I want to think 'do I really need this?' and make wiser decisions about what brings me happiness. I want to appreciate what I own and chill when it comes to wanting more. I don't want to fall into that trap where I'm chasing happiness in circles instead of finding it in the moment.
I've always dreamed of a massive wedding with every single accessory you can think of. But then I thought last night, what are weddings all about? To me they're about declaring your love for someone and beginning your life together. That is all that matters, not all the fancy things that go with it. Just like I've always wanted a big beautifully decorated house, or two. It isn't necessary. The love on that day and the love in the house is what happiness and what life is.
We all strive for the ideal of happiness. But happiness isn't a one way street and it's not a destination. You don't reach a certain degree of success or own a certain amount of shoes and think 'that's it, I've got the lot now'. Because you always want one more pair or one more thing. We rarely stop to appreciate what is actually bringing us happiness.
For me, Max brings me happiness when he dances in the living room. Loïc and Rémi bring me happiness when they laugh. Seeing my friends happy makes me happy. Eating dinner at the table with my family makes me happy. Receiving a smile from a stranger gives me happiness. Writing this blog and learning new things makes me happy. None of these things can be bought or owned.
I want to be successful. I want to get good grades. Because I want my dream job. I want the job that I am going to love and enjoy going to every day. But if I find that it doesn't bring me happiness, I hope that I am strong enough to walk away and search for a new dream. What's important is that we understand that success does not equal to happiness. I trust myself to know what I want and know what I need to be happy. Since having anorexia, I have always taken delight in small things and appreciated being alive. It taught me to trust myself to know who I am.
Minimalism is good for our soul and our health, but another amazing thing it helps is the environment which is so so important in current situations! We need to make changes and take the time to nurture our Earth because it does effect us. This Earth has given us life and we need to give some goodness back into it.
We also need to teach our children about love and freedom. I don't want my child growing up believing that they need to be or own a certain something. I want them to feel amazingly free and happy in their own little bubble and spread the goodness I have taught them. I hate seeing a young child on an iPad, because I loved being a child outside and playing with dolls and using my imagination. I think it really sucks that there is direct advertising to kids. I hate how the world evolves around money and success and doesn't care who it targets or leaves behind.
"I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer" - Jim Carrey.