Minimalism Is Not Deprivation

“You shouldn’t deprive yourself at such a young age,” she told me as I narrated her the story of why I wear the same set of clothes every week, since 3 years now.

This is not the first time someone felt I am depriving myself when they hear about minimalism — about how I seldom shop or the fact that I don’t own much. They shake their head in disbelief when I mention my disinterest in purchasing. By now, some people think I am crazy — how can someone not want a luxurious car or a bungalow with lifts inside it?

But I understand how lines can blur — how minimalism can be confused with asceticism. How me not buying excess can be confused with me wanting to live near some holy river in utter poverty.

To clear it up here’s my attempt to explain it through weird images I created on Powerpoint.

Text describing minimalism

What we think it is.

Slide2.JPG

What it really is.

I often get asked about how to distinguish between minimalism and deprivation. If something adds value to your life, then keep it. Don’t throw it away and then take pride in being a minimalist.

Minimalism is not about how less you own: I find all the noise about owning the least dangerous. It defeats the point of minimalism. I have read ample blogs about people travelling with 33 items and 147 items — I don’t have anything against that lifestyle, but remember — it works for THEM. It’s okay if it doesn’t work for you. No-one will dethrone your minimalist title if you own 500 items.

[Side note: There’s no such thing as a minimalist title — it’s not a one-time thing. Minimalism is alive — the process lasts as long as you do.]

I have more books than anyone else I know. Yes, I can buy a Kindle and get rid of all the physical books. But I love reading paperbacks — the crispness of the paper, the smell, the experience of turning the last page, and just looking out the window while holding a closed book. I get immense value out of my collection.

Book collection of That Indian Minimalist

Deprivation would be my throwing them away for the sake of minimalism. I could throw them away and write a blog about how I own 27 items. I could count my stuff and flaunt the numbers — but that’s not minimalism.

At the same time, I also own fewer clothes — so much so that people close to me remember every colour of my wardrobe. Is that deprivation? No. The number is more than enough for me, and I don’t get any value out of fashion. 

So, when you decide to be minimalist: don’t think about depriving yourself in any way. Think about what is essential for you and what is excess.

If you are amongst those who believe minimalism is deprivation — it’s not. On the contrary, it’s about how to maximise value by focusing on things that matter. 

One time, a person asked me how am I minimalist if I am not bald.

I do have long hair: I guess that disqualifies me from being a minimalist.

Too bad.

Minimalism- 8 Things I realized in the past month.

“One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.”
― Osho

Revelations.

It has been few days past a month since this blog came into existence.

That means over a month of following Minimalism. Over a month of buying consciously. Over a month of focusing on things I love. Over a month of eliminating the superfluous. Over a month of focusing on being a better person.

Over a month of living: real, hard and consciously.

Here are the things, I learnt in this past over 1 month of this blog and following minimalism:

  • Life beyond the Auto Pilot Mode:
    If there is one thing I absolutely adore about this lifestyle is that it helped me to live more consciously. To question every decision I take. To question why I think the way I do. To not do things just because.To live beyond that “Just Because it happens this way” I rejected that lifestyle.Probably you should also try?

    It is hard but so worth it. You see the truth behind everything. And more importantly, you start to know your true self. Till the time, I was living on Auto-Pilot mode. I was doing things which other felt like I should do ideally. Or the things which society thinks, I should do ideally.Break off the “ideally”. Do something because you want to. Do something because you feel like. Question everything that is to question. And decide everything on your own.

    Take control, mate. Remember it is your life?

     

  • Things that has happened, is happening or will happen is something that you’ve chosen:
    You’re what you’re because of choices you made. You’re what you were because of the choices you made. You will be what you will be because of the choices you will make. Life is a choice.Sure there are external factors and sure they affect but in the end all that matters and all that has a major impact is how you react to those external forces. That will define your life. That will define you. Nothing else. That. The choice you make.The things you choose. The emotions you choose. The people you choose. The situations you choose to react on. Choice.

    Do you comprehend? Realize it and realize it now. Your life is a choice. Big fucking choice. Choose carefully.

  • No longer trying to buy emotions:
    If there is one lesson which completely shocked me was this.I was in a no buying phase. This whole January, I kept my purchase only in the essentials. And in that too, I questioned everything I bought.Once you start questioning your purchase. Everything on which you spend money. Everything which you buy. Everything which you wish to buy. Everything.Once I did that, I realized something drastic and shattering.I used to try to purchase emotions and feelings.I didn’t want to buy or rent things. I wanted to buy and rent emotions and feelings. I wanted to buy security, comfort, approval. I wanted to buy joy. I wanted to buy satisfaction. I wanted to buy happiness. Unfortunately, they are not available for sale or rent.

    I stopped doing that. Now, I just buy things as tool. Not as a source of happiness and approval. So, I need less. I want less. And yet, ironically, I feel fuller than ever before. Win-win, amigo.

  • The most important person is you:
    As narcissistic and clichéd it may sound, it is true. The most important person in your life is you. Your top priority should be you. Everything you do, you should be doing keeping in mind the effect it will have on you.Everything, every person, every relation is because of you. If you fall, they all fall.If you are not happy, there is no point to any of them.Being compassionate and loving towards your own self is possibly the most underrated skill. Develop it.Your rest of the life and everything you’ll be and you’ll do, depends on that single person which is YOU.
  • The Incomplete Circle of Relationships:
    I had a friend in 9th Standard. A close friend at that time and then we had a fall-out, as most high school friendships does. We had a spat. And it is only in this month I realized that somewhere that incomplete thing is bothering me.I have her yet in my mind. So, Imessaged her. I said sorry. My circle is complete.  And it feels great. Just complete your circles.With everyone. Either forgive or ask for forgiveness.

    Give a fucking closure to it. Give it.

    All the times when you say, ” I don’t what is bothering me” more often than not, it is these incomplete circles.

    Incomplete relations.

    Give them a closure.

    Do it.

    You’ll thank yourself later.

     

  • People will see you as you see yourself: They are mirrors:
    People’s opinion change as soon as you change your outlook towards yourself. It is a law of causation at work.If you change your opinions and your thinking and your outlook about yourself, people eventually will automatically start seeing you in that light.They will resist at first, asking you why are you changing. We’re genetically programmed to be reluctant to change.But in the end, they see you as you see yourself.

    They reflect on you. Mere reflection.

    Try that if you don’t believe. I have experienced it. I am sure, you’ll too.

  • Avoiding judgmental behavior is tough. But try. It is worth it:
    I soon realize that I judge people too much. Too often and without knowing much. It probably satiate my some kind of emotional need. I am yet to figure what.But I also realized that this kind of judgmental behavior is crucially wrong and not only to them but to myself.I am filling my head with lots of garbage. I am judging someone without even knowing what the person is going through which would mean that the premise and the base itself is flawed.

    Try not judging. It is difficult. But to an extent, possible. Instead try to understand why person is doing what they are doing. What is it that is forcing them to do that.

    Ask questions. You’ll do yourself a big favor.Don’t judge, my friend. At least try not to. Consciously. Love, mate.

  • I and my emotions are two separate things:
    I have a whole other post dedicated to this topic. Yes but in gist, I realized this thing. You and your emotions are not one. You’re not always angry or agitated or irritated or a complete arse.That would mean that these factors, these emotions are external to you.So that means, you’ve choice. You can choose. Embrace the positive and discard the negative.When anger comes, watch it, observe it and let it pass unprocessed and not judged. It will go away. Quicker than you think. So let it pass.

    Do remember. Emotions are a matter of choice. You choose whether to react or not.

    Decide wisely.

This journey, till now, has been real gorgeous. And you people are extremely brilliant. Thank you for supporting this blog and my views with so much love and support.

I have found some amazing content. Learnt brilliant things and made few friends. All in this one little month.

Again, thank you.

But this is just the beginning. This first month. There are many lessons to learn. And many things to realize.

Keep reading.

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