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  • Writer's picturePhoenix: Reimagined

Minimalism Vs. Sacrifice

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

When downsizing or simplifying your life, doubt and confusion are often common companions in the beginning. Minimalism, unlike sacrifice, is a mindset. Your thoughts on reducing clutter in your life can make it a happy journey or one of suffering.

Seeing the full picture can help us choose which fork in the road to take.

We've all had those moments when we're so excited to get started on a project that we jump in head first without really understanding what we're getting ourselves into. We think that we'll be able to finish the project quickly or that it won't take that much of our time...surely.

Then, we get in knee deep and realize that we didn't realize just how much time/effort/money/attention it was going to take. This is where the real work begins. Doubt creeps in and we wonder why we started the project at all.

This project just happens to be adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Is it worth completing?

The answer is yes, yes it is.

Minimalism Vs. Sacrifice

We've all had to sacrifice at some time or another. We've #brownbagged it for awhile to afford a downpayment on a house. We've forgone eating at restaurants because we wanted a new TV. We cut out going on those mini-vacations so we could afford a big trip to Europe. We gave up vacations all together just so we could afford new paramotors. Sacrifices are often times temporary in duration and made with specific outcomes in mind. Gratification, while somewhat delayed, is sweet, however, it comes with a feeling of lack.

#Sacrifice is made as a denial of something we want in order to achieve something else we also want.

When we give up something we want/love/need/desire to achieve something else and then go right back to our old way of life, a change in mindset really didn't occur. We're all able to alter our behavior to get something we want...most of us learned how to do that at a VERY early age. True change happens when you realize you didn't need it in the first place.

#Minimalism is a mindset. It's a change in ideals where one realizes what they truly value versus what was just #noise in their lives.

Often times there is a pivot point between sacrifice and minimalism. Meaning, something may have started as a sacrifice but through a change in mindset became a minimalist action.

Example: Since 2011, I have had gel powder put on my nails. At first, working in the nuclear industry, I did it to protect my nails/fingertips. It worked great and it looked very nice! No worry about broken nails! Once I was no longer working in nuclear power plants, I viewed the salon time as a "#treat" to myself and further proof that we had "made it" because I could spend money on something so #frivolous.

This was something I did at least once per month for the last nine years (~108 times = ~$8,600)...until COVID19. When COVID19 shut down all of the nail salons, I went through the painful process of removing the gel powder from my nails (myself) and cutting them short. The nails looked odd and my fingers looked "stubby" with a lack of color on their tips! It took me months to get used to it but once I did, I found that not carving out hours to sit in the chair and have the gel powder reapplied allowed me more time to spend doing other things.

When the nail salon reopened, I was right back in line to have the gel powder put back on my fingernails. I was impatient to sit in the chair even though the nail technician knows me by name and recognizes my phone number when I call. I always get in right away and get excellent service. When I left, my fingers looked odd and the nails felt "clunky" even though the technician had performed a beautiful set!

The change in mindset had happened.

The first time I had the gel powder reapplied, I caught my nail in one of our kitchen cabinet drawer pulls and it ripped my entire (real) nail right off of the nail bed. Having the gel powder didn't save me pain that time.

I continued to get my nails done even though it wasn't as enjoyable as it had once been. Now, a few months later, I've (painfully) removed the gel powder from my nails and cut them short again. The lack of gel powder is no longer a sacrifice, it's a #minimalist #action (for me). It's a #decluttering of my time, and a removal of a financial drain every month.

My fingers once again have taken on an odd and stubby appearance (to me) but I know that it will pass. This time I recognize it as something I no longer want/need. It isn't integral to my happiness or the happiness of my husband so it has to go.

Soon we'll be talking about the "why" of our minimalist journey but for now, know that it's in the pursuit of life, liberty, and figuring out what makes us happy!

Is there anything in your life that COVID19 has forced you to realize that it wasn't integral to your happiness? Or maybe that it was necessary for you to be happy?

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