Several years ago I began studying the concepts of minimalism. We will go into more detail in a different post about minimalism, common misconceptions and what it actually means. But for now I would like to discuss the overarching theme that I heard from people regarding their reasons for making personal changes towards a minimal lifestyle, or just simply downsizing.
It all begins with the idea of finding balance in our lives. Balance is defined as a condition in which different elements are equal, or in the correct proportions to one another. So my wife and I took a step back and evaluated our own lives, asking the question of whether we believed the different ‘elements’ of our lives were in the correct proportions. Let’s first begin by identifying what we concluded are the four primary ‘elements’ of our lives.
We truly believe that if we could find a balance in our lives between these four elements we would be positioning ourselves on a path to success. We will be going into more detail later on about each of these elements of well-being. But to summarize the importance of balancing our lives we will be talking about the idea of balancing our overall well-being.
This is important because we are human. We are driven by certain forces in life that have a major impact on our day to day temperament. Each of those four elements directly correlate to one another. When we took a step back and really evaluated our lives, it was surprisingly easy to identify which of the elements were out of proportion. We made the decision that if we are going to take this journey, it is going to require a whole-hearted attempt at balancing these elements in order to reach our destination.
Spiritual success is very individualistic. This could consist of going to church every Sunday, participating in a home group, reading the Bible and praying every day, and many more applications. But if you greatly dislike going to work, or you don’t get along with your boss or supervisor, and all you do is complain about your job, then it would be easy to say that your Professional Well-Being is suffering compared to your Spiritual Well-Being, thus creating a disproportion that likely overlaps one another.
Maybe you love your work, but you don’t feel like you get paid enough. Maybe you’re living on the edge of your budget each month as we do. This has an overwhelming ability to create emotional stress which can permeate every aspect of our lives, ultimately effecting the remaining elements and creating a large disproportion. In this instance, Professional Well-Being directly effects our Emotional Well-Being.
Physical Well-Being may seem like it doesn’t belong on this list. However, it’s widely accepted that good physical health leads to a better attitude and a happier life. There are countless studies that revealed people who exercise regularly and live a more physical lifestyle report a happier life overall, compared to people that live more sedentary lives with minimal physical activity and report more anger, anxiety, physical pain, and health problems. Any amount of exercise, whether it be going for a walk each evening, or training for a marathon, will have a positive effect on balancing your life. A balanced Physical Well-Being will greatly effect the remaining elements in a very positive way.
The purpose for discussing this now was to provide some additional insight as to why we began this journey. Happiness is not derived from one source. Whether you live in a large house or in 300 sq. ft, the simple act of living in a certain space will not directly correlate to happiness. We don’t want anyone to think that our goal is to just downsize our lives. Rather, our goal is to simply live more and be happier. Downsizing is just part of the route we feel called to take in this season in order to regain balance elsewhere in our lives.
Happiness is derived from a sometimes overwhelming combination of sources in life. As we begin pursuing these avenues to bring about balance in our lives, our hope is that we will achieve greater happiness as individuals, as a married couple, and as a family.