Minimalism or something more?

I’ve struggled with this for maybe 3 years now.

When I was younger I had so many things from clothes to toys, etc… I would always get in trouble for my room being a mess. From the time I was born to the age of 13 I lived in the same house. Once I got older and into a new house I started to be a little more organized and it looked like your average teenage room. When I was 15 my family and I moved to a new state. I had to start over at 15 and I was scared. I noticed every year I got older I got rid of more and more things. Even the sentimental stuff. (I would take a picture of them on my phone for the memory)

I am now 21 and can fit all of my belongings in my 90L suitcase (except for my bed of course)
Now when I say all of my belongings I really mean it. Clothes, toiletries, computer, important papers, everything.

This is how I think:

  1. Something bad will happen and I need to be ready to run away
  2. The US is going to start a war and I need to be ready to hide
  3. Some sort of Apocalypse will happen and I need to be ready to defend myself and my belongings.

I want to believe that these things will never happen and that im just trying to be a minimalist and better my life, but what if it does?

Words of advice?

1 Like

Hey,

Thanks for sharing all of that. It sounds to me like a normal trauma response to what you’ve experienced growing up. I’m not a professional, but I do know that sometimes when life becomes unpredictable, you can develop trauma because of it. It’s ok to grieve the loss of your previous houses or belongings. Grief isn’t just about losing people, it can be about losing things too. Give yourself some grace and seek professional help to address your anxiety if you feel like it would be helpful. I believe you will have a fulfilling life. I know it can be scary sometimes, but you’ll make it through. Reach out again if you need support.

Sarah

2 Likes

Thank you so much for sharing, my friend.

There’s a really great documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. It might be a benefit to you as you might relate to some aspects of it and dig deeper in to your thought process about why it seems you’re able to get rid of things year after year. You may not relate to it at all but it may be worth checking out anyway.

In regards to your current thought process I would agree with Sarah and want to reiterate that I too am no professional, however, it seems to me like a trauma response of some kind. Grief can come in all forms and it’s perfectly acceptable and personally recommended that you allow yourself to grieve. Experience the full weight of the emotions and embrace them with the grace that you owe yourself. It may require professional help and that is ok.

You can do this. It will take time, but you can. Much love.

1 Like

I want to believe that these things will never happen and that im just trying to be a minimalist and better my life, but what if it does?

That’s a very interesting question. And somehow, I think you responded to it by sharing some significant parts of your story, but also your fears about what might happen in the future. What you’re questioning here is the deep roots of what appears to be a way to practice minimalism. Definitely a positive thing to question yourself about your inner motivation.

I approached minimalism and read quite a few things about it because, just like you, through the years I had these cycles of urges when I’d declutter the stuff that I have. With time, I started to approach it in a mindful way (is this object valuable in my life?) and not a quantitative way (reducing the amount of objects I have). What’s been interesting through this process is to realize that this practice didn’t come from nowhere but is deeply rooted in my own story. There’s something therapeutic in this when it allows us to reflect on ourselves - just like you’re doing through this post.

I agree with @Sarah: grief could be a keyword. It reminds me of something that C.S.Lewis wrote in an short essay: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid”. It’s not even necessary about the actual loss of something or someone, but even just the possibility of it. We’re humans. We have a capacity of projection. And often times it’s based on our past experiences. These are fears:

This is how I think:
Something bad will happen and I need to be ready to run away
The US is going to start a war and I need to be ready to hide
Some sort of Apocalypse will happen and I need to be ready to defend myself and my belongings.

But it’s also incredibly positive to be aware of how you think. It could be a major difference between minimalism and a potential trauma response/coping mechanism. Minimalism is a way of life, it’s about chosing something that suits you more. There is a sense of freedom in it. But if it’s motivated by deep fears first and foremost, then it could be interesting for you to work on it, and why not with a counselor or a therapist.

Is decluttering a personal choice or a habit that you developped over time? Does doing this causes any pain to you/does it prevent you to live how you want to live, or be who you want to be? Do you feel stuck or driven by your fears before anything else? Just some open questions - don’t feel any obligation to respond here particularly.

I any case, it’s truly positive to question your motivation and seek a better understanding of yourself. I believe in you and your capacity to identify your own truth. Whether it’s by yourself or with the right support. This community is here for you as well. Take care, friend. :hrtlegolove: