When we reach something bordering on adulthood, that steep cliff edge between our teens and our late twenties, we think that we must understand ourselves by now. Words in social media bios sum up everything about us in less than 100 characters. Resumes force us to define our work histories and personal experiences while also using the buzzwords for the job. Daily, we try to introduce ourselves, saying enough for people to understand us, but not so much that they find us too complicated to get to know. We condense ourselves, reinvent ourselves, and sometimes end up thinking that perhaps we don’t know ourselves at all.
We imagine ourselves to be something a little different than we actually are. It’s not an exercise in ego, we don’t see some shining and perfected version of ourselves, neither do we go the opposite route and see a hideous swap creature in our place. It’s like the mirror’s own reflection, something we see which isn’t quite reality- we don’t notice that it’s wrong because it’s all we see. There’s an Amanda Palmer song, In My Mind, which describes exactly this- that we have versions of ourself which we imagine ourselves to be, and then we have who we actually are.
In my mind
In the faraway here and now
I’ve become in control somehow
And I never lose my wallet
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I’ve just forgotten how to see
That I’ll never be the person that I thought I’d be.
If you could only keep five of your books, what would you keep? If you could only keep three decorative items, which would you choose? If you could only keep half of the clothes in your wardrobe, which ones would be most important?
Minimalism shouldn’t solely be an experiment of survival with the fewest things but, in considering which things would be most important to you if you chose to minimise, you can learn a lot about yourself. You will likely find that you are more complex and multi-faceted than you thought, you may realise which passions are the most important to you, and which things in your life you’d be happy to let go of.
What aspects of minimalism have helped you to understand yourself better?
Featured image: norbert Levajsics via Unsplash.