It seems like in today’s life the concept of living simple is almost an art form. It gets harder and harder to understand that we don’t need all the things that we believe we do. We are constantly overwhelmed with commercials, billboards, and advertisements telling us the next thing we must buy. Even in our groups of friend you may often find conversations circling around the newest thing to own such as a larger television, the newest gaming system, the best phone, etc. Why do we buy into it? We are human. We enjoy new ways to entertain ourselves. We strive for ultimate convenience. I suppose the list of why could go on forever. The question really is; do these things make you happy? Initially- yes. Ultimately- no. If you notice, what actually happens is we end up in this trap of constantly needing more. There is a void we try to fill of “I need this” and “I need that”. We buy and buy and buy till we have no money left and we are energetically tied down with endless things. All the stuff that we needed to have clogs up our space, clutters our minds and robs our energy (not to mention hard earned money). We feel drained and tied down by things. This is where simple living comes in and two simple (notice I didn’t say easy) steps to get started.
The first step is to really understand that you don’t need to buy everything. This is not to say that you should never buy anything. The key is understanding the difference between wanting and needing. You don’t need anything other than those things that keep you alive. Technically that list could be as little as rice, beans, water and clothing. Depending on where you live and the circumstances of employment that list can increase with the things that help you get said items. Everything else is a want. Recognize that everything has levels of need and want. You may need food to survive but you don’t need to go to a restaurant. You can live on simple food, you just may want more than that. If you begin to distinguish your purchases this way then you will be able to make rational choices. You take out the emotional reaction and the urgency to get it this minute. You can determine whether you can afford it, which version you actually want and when you would like to get it by. Beginning this thought process can help you only get those things that you really want and not everything that may fill the “need more” void. Next time you find yourself saying “I need to get…” stop yourself and ask if that is true. Almost always you can change that to “I want to get…”. This change of wording will give you an instant perspective shift.
The second step in keeping your space and mind clutter free is to remove things when you bring new in. Look at the space you have and determine how much stuff you need to get rid of to allow the feeling of freedom. Having the feeling of not being tied down by stuff is priceless. Detach yourself from this stuff and start removing until you feel that peacefulness inside. Once you do that, do not let new purchases come into the space without removing something. This will keep the energy balance. Getting in the habit of this will help you keep things in perspective and allow yourself to really determine if you would like to buy something. It will force you to ask if you want this new thing more than something you currently have. If the answer is no, then you must not want it that bad.
Try these two things and you will be shocked at how much less you buy, how much money you save, and how much happier you become. Understand that you are not what you own. People around the world live with much less than you do and many may even be happier. Your things should give you the means to live the life you would like, but they do not define who you are. Starting the process of living simplicity can begin the journey of living your true self.