I noticed that few people dare to express their negative experiences with their own decluttering process. I was on the fence about sharing mine, because I would prefer to keep a positive vibe on my blog. But I also know that it’s important to keep it real and reach out to those few people who are also dealing with these negative issues as well. Here is the dark side of minimalism, the negative side-effect that I believe no one talks openly about:
When you come across minimalism on the internet, it instantly looks great and appealing. People seem stylish, happy and zen, so you try it as well. But here is a thing that isn’t joyful about the decluttering and the minimalistic journey. It’s a moment within the journey when bad thoughts occur and you might be faced with deep personal issues that seem impossible to solve at that moment.
A while back, I encountered an emotional dissatisfaction. A sadness that was underlying the garbage, the mess, the clutter. It suddenly became clear to me: the more trash I cleared from my life, the more I faced the emptiness of my existence. You don’t declutter to gain nothing in return. Minimalism isn’t about giving up stuff and remaining with less. It’s about finding more meaning, more satisfaction, more quality in life.
I started noticing how little interests remained underneath the chaos. I didn’t know what to do with myself or my life. I was buried beneath my past, underneath a pile of deception, of unfinished projects and the mess was a result of that pain.
I know that decluttering is the first step towards the life you want for yourself, that this is the way to build a life of your dreams. But right there and then I realized that there wasn’t much I truly loved doing or having or being. I lost direction: somehow the less I needed, the less satisfied I became. I couldn’t tell what would bring me joy. All the things that used to make me happy at some point in my life and were useful then: all those things didn’t apply these days anymore. I knew I badly needed change but I couldn’t tell what kind of change. So I took a break, stayed away from the mess and the decluttering in order to figure out what was going on. I binge-watched series, I was extremely passive, got back into a nightly-routine of sleeping during the day, lacked energy, hated myself for a while but dealt with these emotions. The unhappiness had nothing to do with the (external) stuff itself. I realized I needed to focus upon my self: self-worth, self-perception and so on. It isn’t something I have actively chosen to neglect over the years; it came to be, due to situations and environment I was in and the people in my life.
I realized at that moment ‘I am actually unhappy with how I look’ and even-though I wasn’t making a big deal out of it throughout the past years: it’s now become something I can’t neglect any longer. It used to be a coping mechanism, but today it is not working anymore. I chose for myself right there: no more suffering. It’s time to do something constructive with this pain and dedicate this time for myself to heal. Here is where the self-love starts. I put myself first for healthy reasons and I am clear about my intentions. I learn to distinct between what is important for me now, instead of what people expect from me at that moment: which is most likely very unhealthy for me to do.
Those important missing pieces in myself were the root of much unheard sadness in my life. The self-neglect grew from childhood until now: it was about time. So, I chose to acknowledge this pain and face myself with the truth. I learn to accept the truth. Then I truly try to figure out how it came to be (by meditation) and why it is still here. And then it is time to let it go, bit by bit. The shell must break open. And that is by self-healing and finding therapeutic ways t overcome this misery. This is how I gained a bit more of self-confidence.
Thank you for reading
image by Hilde Mork