You have enemies? Good, that means you stood up for something, sometime in your life.
– Winston Churchill
Minimalism is not something that a person can truly adopt without a significant change to their life.
I’ve written about “sustainable minimalism” and how I think the best way to accomplish anything is to follow a pattern of gradual improvement. But the truth is, minimalism should be tough sometimes. If it doesn’t feel like a significant change, you may not be challenging yourself enough. And minimalism should be a challenge. Not just a personal challenge to change, but also a challenge of the status quo of society. By taking a stand against what society tells us to buy, what to believe in and how to act, minimalism should be a polarizing force and divisive subject. Because of that, there will be many people who do not understand exactly what a minimalism lifestyle means or why it is important.
So how should we discuss minimalism with non-minimalists?
- Don’t act judgmental. Above all else, don’t act like minimalist beliefs are superior or argue loudly against a lifestyle based around consumerism. No one makes the decision for personal change based on being shamed into it.
- But don’t act apologetic. Don’t apologize for not choosing to act in the ways that we have been taught. Life is too short to watch reality television and you don’t have to pretend otherwise.
- Discuss the benefits. Effortless frugality, easy organization and time for everything we want to do in life are just a few of the many positive aspects of adapting to a minimalist lifestyle.
- Lead by example. For those closest to us, actions speak louder than words. I’ve had friends and family both mention to me that they were simplifying their own lives, without me prodding them in that direction. Be a positive role model of the minimalist lifestyle.
Even if you follow all of these steps, some people will find the idea of reducing their possessions and simplifying their life to be too scary. Unfortunately, people oftentimes come to rely on their possessions as a security blanket protecting them from having to deal with the real issues in their life. Being challenged to change that will be too daunting of a prospect. That’s okay. Just like in high school, being different is still tough for some people as an adult.
But by taking a stand for minimalism, we are showing there is a different way than what we’ve been taught. And that is what is important, not how many others decide to join us.
How do you talk to non-minimalists?