When I started my minimalist journey, I was looking forward to the day that I could proudly call myself a minimalist.
I saw how much more clarity, peace and joy people living a simple life have and I wanted that as well.
So I presumed I would just happily declutter my house and life until I will start feeling like a minimalist.
But honestly, that moment didn’t come as naturally as I thought it would.
I think most of us hold this idea that you can only be a minimalist if you live with an absolute minimum (or at least, that is what I thought).
That is why, even after decluttering for a good two years and getting rid of 70% of my stuff, I still wasn’t convinced I live minimally enough.
Deep down, I still believed I could own less and do better.
And even if this was true, waiting to reach the specific criteria in my head, was neither helpful nor fun.
No wonder I started looking around to assess how my life compares to others in order to see if I’m “there” yet.
And seeing that in some areas, I was ‘more’ of a minimalist than others, but in some, I wasn’t, didn’t make my decision any easier.
But, it did help me recognise that no one lives exactly like me because we all have different lives and passions, which meant that the ultimate decision to call myself a minimalist was up to me.
So after a good two years and a half of decluttering, I started calling myself a minimalist.
WHY DOES IT MATTER IF YOU CALL YOURSELF A MINIMALIST OR NOT?
You might be wondering, why was I so bothered about labelling myself a minimalist?
If I was living a simple life, then it shouldn’t matter, right?
Yes, I absolutely agree that it shouldn’t.
But my problem was the way I viewed myself.
I saw myself as a bit of a shopaholic and fashionista, and I knew I needed to change that perception in order to achieve my goal of becoming a free consumer – and the word minimalism was something that worked as a great replacement.
So if you’re not sure if it’s important to call yourself a minimalist or not, my advice would be; if you feel like the label won’t change the way you see yourself, then don’t worry about it.
But if you wish to perceive yourself as someone who lives a simple life, yet you have trouble calling yourself a minimalist (be it because of fear of being judged, or the ideal image in your head), then I suggest you embrace the idea of calling yourself one – even if you’re not there yet!
WHY SHOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A MINIMALIST?
Let say you want to be more organised.
You try and implement all the things that will help you achieve that, but your inner voice it’s still saying you’re never going to be like other organised people.
You (or others) trained yourself to believe that you’re somehow different and that organised life and home are unattainable to you.
But guess what – you’re no different!
You just believe you are, and that is the mental step you need to overcome in order to become effortlessly organised.
And that is the same reason why you should call yourself a minimalist.
When I embraced the word, I created a powerful shift in how I went about my day.
Instead of saying to myself, minimalism is something I’ll never achieve, I started living as if I’m already there.
And whenever I wasn’t sure what to do, I suddenly had this little voice “What would a minimalist do?” or “How does a minimalist think?” that popped up almost out of nowhere.
That helped me improve my shopping habits, and it sped up my minimalist journey tremendously.
And the same can happen to you.
I’m sure if you start calling yourself a minimalist, your behaviour will change because of it.
You will perceive yourself differently and that is a crucial step of any lasting change.
But if you still have any doubts about this, then simply try it out.
Do it for a day, a week or even a month. Just start calling yourself a minimalist and see if anything changes.
DO IT FOR YOURSELF FIRST
When I decided to call myself a minimalist, I did it for myself first.
I didn’t tell anyone, because that was my little experiment and I wanted to see how it goes.
And I suggest you do it for yourself first, as well.
Have fun with it and see if any mental obstacles come up.
And only once you feel comfortable, share it with others around you.
But be careful: if you only want to do it because you want to impress people, I suggest you wait and check in with yourself as to why you want to be perceived that way.
DON’T FALL FOR THE TRAP OF A “TRUE MINIMALIST”
You see, some people might always say that someone is not a “true minimalist” (whatever that means), because they don’t meet their specific idea of a minimalist lifestyle.
Some could argue I’m not a “true minimalist” because I have a normal-sized home, a car, more than five handbags and ten pairs of shoes.
And I might be inclined to agree that I’m not a minimalist in a way that most people imagine.
But I am a minimalist in the way that I think.
How that shows on the outside shouldn’t matter because focusing on what matters and removing what doesn’t is a minimalist mindset, and that is exactly what I developed over the years and is how I live my life today.
So please, don’t worry about what others think – if changing how you see yourself will help you make a lasting change, then do it.
Embrace being a minimalist and enjoy in everything that simple life has to offer.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START CALLING YOURSELF A MINIMALIST?
With everything being said, of course, just calling yourself a minimalist when you haven’t even started decluttering or took time to understand what it means to be one, is too early to embrace it.
It’s essential you already took some action steps towards that direction otherwise, you will feel like you’re lying to yourself.
And that is not helping you because it will make you feel even further removed from where you want to be.
Instead, mentally test it out every couple of months and when you feel like you can believe it and hold it in your head (even if there are some doubts), then it’s time to embrace it.
I hope this gave you some clarity and courage to embrace the word minimalism and all it has to offer.
Life is always about learning and testing things out, so feel free to find what works for you.
Do you see yourself as a minimalist or are you still holding back because of fear? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
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