So… what does it really mean to be an Essentialist?
You may have heard of the term Essentialism, but in a different context right? If you go to our old friend Google, it states:
Essentialism is the view that for any specific entity there is a set of attributes, which are necessary to its identity and function.
This is the philosophical view that most people are aware of. However, recently it has been banded around in a lifestyle context. So what does it mean?
Let me try to explain by first asking you some questions:
Do You Feel:
- as though you are always jumping from one activity to the next?
- you are always working towards someone else’s agenda?
- obliged to say yes to everyone’s requests for help or social activities?
- overwhelmed and constantly feel as though you have forgotten something?
- like you work non-stop but do not actually have much to show for it?
- as though you do not know what you want anymore and you have lost your identity?
I can tell you that as a wife, mother of two young children, a Senior Manager in a corporate environment (as well as a friend, a homemaker, a crafter, an event planner, a student, a teacher… or anything else I could fit into my diary) I could answer yes to every single one of these six questions.
Something needed to change.
I had put an unreasonable amount of pressure on myself to do everything and be the ‘best’ person I could be. I was burnt out, I was suffering from anxiety and depression and consequently was not my best self for any of the things I was trying to do. It completely defeated the point of me doing them at all!
So I sat down and had a strong word with myself.
I needed to STOP doing things. I needed to stop being in 10 different places at once and I needed to grab a cup of tea and SLOW down.
That is when I realised there was a term for what I was trying to do.
And so my love affair began….
So, what does it mean I hear you ask?
In the spirit of Essentialism, I will distill my definition down into a few words:
Essentialism is the simplification of life and the creation of a lifestyle that is based on less rather than more. It is about focusing on the quality of life rather than the quantity of life’s elements.
This is not a fad that you can apply now and hope it fixes things. It is a lifestyle. A lifestyle which entails:
- Understanding your individual and family values.
- Stopping your possessions & material items taking control of your decisions. Let experiences be the driver.
- Looking at that list of things in your diary and choosing the right ones to keep (those that align to your values) and eliminating the rest.
- Taking control of your life and realising that your path needs to be defined by you, no one else, but you.
- Stop letting others decide where you devote your time and energy.
- Realising that no one has ‘it all’ and ignoring the social expectations all around us. We need to allow our true selves to be shown.
Time is one precious resource that we cannot renew. So why not use it the best way we can?