A week before my 15th Birthday my mom asked me what present I’d like to get. “Let’s just have a dinner, I have everything I need”, was my reply. And it was true. At the time I had magnitola, a cassette player, computer, a phone and I had a cat. What else could I wish for? For 15 years old girl it was enough. It was the first time in my life when I consciously thought of everything I own and decided that I don’t need more.
Before that, as a child, I always wanted something, I had not enough – a pet, toys or candies, you name it! I thought “When I grow up I will get a job and buy myself everything I now want but cannot get because of my family’s budget restriction”. “Mom, I want… can I get it?”, and in return you get an apologetic or even irritated look from your parents. These experiences make children feel guilty of asking for more or even not being worthy of having more and/or good quality things…This is how seeds of scarcity mentality are planted in the little minds and then it haunts us for decades…
So here I was, 15 and feeling content with the things I owned. I had enough. I has satisfied with my situation. That was the first time I asked myself, “What or how much do I REALLY need to feel happy, satisfied, comfortable, secure?” Years later after living a year out of a suitcase and a few month of backpacking I realised I need even less than when I was a 15 year old girl living with parents in my hometown. After years of moving around and changing apartment, cities and countries, now I know I can live lighter, travel lighter and be lighter….
Through Limiting Beliefs to Minimalism
I had to face two major limiting beliefs while transitioning into minimalist living.
Limiting Belief #1 – Scarcity Mentality
Whatever I have now might suddenly end, simply put: if your money ends you won’t be able to get this beautiful dress or go to that nice restaurant anymore. Some people with this mindset may start “enjoying life to the fullest”, spending everything to enjoy the moment while they can. I went in the opposite direction. The positive side of my scarcity mentality shows up in my saving skills. I can easily save more than most people I know. Still, I would buy things I don’t need to make myself feel safe. In case I won’t be able to purchase it in the future. I’m talking about things like cosmetics, clothes, bags, etc.
Limiting Belief #2 – Waste is wrong
This belief is definitely connected to the first one and partially comes from my childhood, partially it’s in my genetic memory (ever heard of collective unconscious?) and partially because of my education and own life experiences. I HATE WASTE. And there are logical reasons for that. Just think about the environmental issues, amount of trash we are producing every day is killing everything around us. I felt guilty every time I had to through away something that was in a good condition. When I just stop liking it. This belief prevented me from starting a beauty YouTube channel because I would have to buy more and more products…Today I still believe that it is unethical to carelessly through things away taking into account all the people and resources involved in the production process, or even your own working hours. However, I learned to deal with my beliefs.
Managing Limiting Beliefs
Today still I am not a person who owns only 100 things or changes 30 items of clothing every season, ’cause again, I’d waste too much. Embarking on a minimalism journey, had me bring more consciousness into my life, educate myself on the alternative ways of life (downshifting, capsule wardrobe, simplifying, zero-waste, recycling), rethink my lifestyle and everyday choices. As a result, I had to learn to finally start managing both of my limiting beliefs.
As may others I started simplifying with decluttering, getting rid of everything you don’t need and don’t care about, identifying the value of each thing in your surroundings and creating space for new things to come into your life.
I couldn’t simply get rid of my stuff because I couldn’t see them going into trash. Solution to this struggle came in two stages. First, I brought a suitcase full of old-ish clothes with me for a year trip in Indonesia. I wasn’t planning to spend much on new stuff there so I destroyed everything old climbing volcanoes, tracking in the jungle and exploring remote parts of the country. The next year I was moving to Malaysia for work and this was the perfect opportunity to deal with all my more fancy looking clothes from my student years. I took another 23kg suitcase full of stuff to Malaysia.
After a year most of it was gone. Sore wear out and I donated the rest. Welcome to the fresh start. And even though my mom thinks I look like a teenager wearing my basic T’s and skinny jeans, this is exactly when I feel the most free and focused on the stuff I do most of the time.
I had to go through a few stages of acknowledging my limiting believes, finding suitable ways of dealing with them and finally managing them with kindness and hope that one day I will be able to fully let go.