The Emptiness that Minimalism Creates

You are alone in a room by yourself. You sit on the floor because there is no chair. You stare off into the distance because there is no TV in front of you and no iPhone in your lap. You have no things, no objects, no items. There is just you (and your clothing; let’s be modest here). What do you do?

By now, most of you are probably thinking about how unbearably boring that situation would be. But what if it wasn’t? What if you used that time to think, to plan, and to create? What if you filled that empty space with your imagination—not with things but with ideas? With emotions such as peace and love? With empathy or an eagerness for adventure?

By the way, you’re allowed to leave the room at any time. You can go anywhere you please. If you had that chair, that TV, or that phone, would you go somewhere different? Or maybe nowhere at all?

When it comes to minimalism, I believe that there is a middle ground between “too much” and “too little”—it is that sweet spot called “just enough.” And it is different for everyone.

“Just enough” means having your immediate needs met (physically and emotionally), but it also means that extra bit of comfort and joy that you are lucky enough to experience in your life. Just enough is being grateful for what you already have—without having to give up something you love just because it seems like “too much.”

Minimalists try not to hold on to too many things, or ascribe too much value to objects in general. But minimalism is not about deprivation; why should you give up something that brings you pleasure just to free up a couple inches of space for a more “minimalist” aesthetic? Counting your stuff won’t make you a minimalist; thinking about its purpose will.

Think about why you want to be a minimalist in the first place. You may be looking for more time, more financial comfort, more freedom. If you are just looking for more empty space, minimalism may not be for you. Because if there is nothing else to fill that space, you will be left with just yourself, and you will grow bored and apathetic; you will be lonely without your things.

One of the greatest things about minimalism is that it encourages us to bring valuable experiences into our lives: spending more time with our families; traveling; helping others. These are the things that fill the empty space—the emptiness—that minimalism creates.

You are alone in a room by yourself. You are surrounded only by things that you like to look at and use—things that add value to your life. Not too many things, but not too few. You have just enough. Your needs are met. You are alone but not lonely, because your life is full. You shove your phone into your pocket and head out into the world.

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