Confidence + Minimalism (Find the Courage to Chase Your Dreams)

I’ll be 35 in a few months and I’m unemployed and homeless.

Last year, I gave up my full time job and my apartment to travel the world. And when I return to Australia later this year, I have no intention of pursuing a career or a permanent address. Instead, I plan to buy a van, do odd jobs, and travel around Australia.

This is my dream and I’m thrilled with my choice, but a few years ago I would have struggled to admit this to anyone.

Why?

Because it goes against the status quo. At my age I should be buying a house, getting promoted, or having a baby – or I should at least want to. Admitting that I don’t (at least for now) is scary because I know a lot of people will judge me.

I’ve been called indulgent, privileged, and irresponsible.

I’ll admit that I’m privileged (in the big scheme of the world) but I don’t think there is anything indulgent about doing what makes you happy. (More people should try it.)

And irresponsible? Well, let’s just say you never know what goes on behind the scenes and I’ll wager that I’m more prepared for the future than many other people my age.

But I digress. I’m sharing my dreams with you today because I now have the confidence to own who I am.

Confidence, or a lack of it, is what keeps so many people from chasing their dreams.

It’s the missing link, the final piece of the puzzle, that we all need to finally take that leap and do what our hearts are urging us to do.

And I found a giant does of confidence in a surprising place – my minimalist lifestyle.

What is keeping you from chasing your dreams and creating a life you love? My guess is that confidence, or a lack of it, plays a part. If you could use some extra confidence try looking in a surprising place - minimalism!

CONSUMERISM IS A MASK

Every time you make a purchase, you’re making a statement about who you are (whether it’s intentional or not.)

  • If you buy an expensive handbag, you’re telling the world that you’re wealthy and successful.
  • If you buy a popular brand of yoga pants, you’re telling the world that you’re healthy and a yogi.
  • If you buy souvenirs overseas, you’re telling the world you’re well travelled.

(Obviously, the statement you make is subjective, but you get the idea.)

Because of this, we often turn to shopping when we feel insecure.

When I used to feel bad about my weight or my body, I would always buy stilettos – because the towering heels made me feel sexy. Or when I didn’t feel successful enough at work, I’d buy something expensive just to show I could afford it.

Often I wasn’t even worried about what other people were thinking; instead I was trying to prove something to myself.

But really, all I was doing was hiding. My purchases were a mask that kept me from facing my body issues and self doubt.

When I embraced minimalism I no longer had a place to hide, and had no choice but to face my insecurities head on (which led to self acceptance and confidence.)

RELATED POST How I Became a Minimalist: Why I Choose to Live With Less

DECLUTTERING IS ACCEPTING WHO YOU REALLY ARE

If consumerism is a mask, then decluttering is accepting who you really are.

When I downsized my life, I recall being really surprised by the powerful emotions I felt while saying goodbye to my stuff. I’ve spent hours agonising over donating a single dress!

Why all the drama? Why was it so difficult to toss and move on?

Because saying goodbye to my minidresses meant acknowledging I don’t go to nightclubs anymore; selling my blender meant accepting I was not the smoothie drinking green goddess I wanted to be; and donating my sewing machine meant I was never going to design my own wardrobe (much less finish the blouse that I’d been working on for years…)

You get the picture.

When you let go of things you’re saying goodbye to the person you want to be and accepting who you really are.

You also let go of a lot of negative feelings about yourself. I felt a lot of guilt and shame because I wasn’t living up to the lifestyle my stuff was promising; my unworn party dresses would taunt me from my closet when I stayed home on a Saturday night. And my sewing machine? Well – she was nasty.

So when I said goodbye, it was liberating. I started to see all the good things about myself, instead of focusing on my perceived ‘failures’ – another big check in the self confidence box.

RELATED POST 15 Things to Declutter (That Aren’t Things!): Ideas + Mindsets to Let Go

BECOMING A MINIMALIST IS A CHALLENGE

Finally, becoming a minimalist gave me confidence because it’s not easy.

Unlearning a lifetime of habits, going against what is ‘normal’ and saying goodbye to your stuff is a challenge and it takes strength and commitment. It’s an accomplishment – like running a marathon or writing a novel and something to be proud of.

When I look back on how far I’ve come, when I remember my overflowing closet (I had over 100 pairs of shoes) and my maxed out credit cards, and then I look at my life now – and I’m blown away.

A few years ago I never, ever would have thought this was possible. But here I am and the pride I feel at having come so far has given me a confidence boost like I never imagined.

Becoming a minimalist is one of the most important things I’ve ever done and it has 100%, hands down, enabled me to chase my dreams and build a life I truly love.

If you’re considering minimalism I strongly encourage you to take the plunge. it might just be the missing link you need to start chasing your dreams.

RELATED POST Struggling with Minimalism? 6 Tips to Help You Make Sustainable Change

Have you ever hid behind your purchases? Or shopped for your ideal life (instead of your real life?) And has becoming a minimalist helped your self confidence? Let me know in the comments – I’d love know I’m not alone! x

 

photo credit : Mariana Campmany // Used with permission

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35 thoughts on “Confidence + Minimalism (Find the Courage to Chase Your Dreams)”

  1. 5 years later I am returning to your beautiful , authentic and real blog post … how real and inspiring you are ..
    Actually you can’t be more right … I hide behind my purchases …. I always try to prove or show something … I hope I can beome more honest and real like you .. wish you happiness and peace

    Reply
  2. I’m currently working towards this. I’m 27 now and I hope to be retiring from teaching by the time I’m 30 after transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle. One day, I wrote down in a journal what things made me truly happy. The two things I care about most in my life are my aging parents and my horses. I texted my Mom about how those are the two things that matter most in my life and I will find a way to make it happen where I can spend more time with them. I frequently get asked when I plan to get married or have kids which makes no sense because I am happily single. I’m already getting pressured over my life and the fact that I get to travel but I choose my happiness over people’s opinions.

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  3. This is so amazing! I have always wanted to downsize and live minimally but I’ve never really had the courage to do it. I’ll donate a few items here and there but I always end up replacing whatever I gave away. I envy the clarity that you have found in your lifestyle, although I love my lifestyle I truly believe living minimally would be beneficial.

    Reply
    • Hi Ebony! Sorry for the slow reponse to this comment. I just wanted to say that I was like you for a long time, I wanted to downsize but I was afraid to let go of things—but when I finally did, it was so much easier than I expected! I really didn’t miss things the way I thought I would.

      Anyway, no pressure—do what is right for you when the time is right—but I just wanted to share my experience 🙂 Thank you for reading! x Jen

      Reply
  4. Just wanted to say hi,

    I think we have a lot of parallels in experiences and ideas! Because girl, I totally resonate with you. Looking forward to seeing more of your content!

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  5. I can’t even tell you how much this resonates with me! I used to buy my lifestyle (or the one I thought I was ‘supposed’ to have) and it took a lot of work to undo those mental habits. I’ve now downsized my belongings by 75% and this has led me to want a career free, adventure filled life. It is definitely hard for some people to wrap their minds around, but you can’t make people understand your decisions. You just have to live your life!

    Reply
    • Hey Brittany! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story – I’m always glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has made mistakes. But it’s awesome to hear that you’re living an adventure filled life now! Awesome work!! xx Jen

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  6. I know this post is almost a year old, but everything about it really resonated with me. I JUST wrote in my journal today for the first time in a million years and what I wrote was that I felt my impulse shopping came from insecurity. So then finding your blog and reading a bunch of your posts, including this one, really helped me start to think about if minimalism could work for me. But being an all or nothing sort of person, I’m ready to just dive in and I feel like that’s just feeding into the impulsive side of me that loves shopping (and the insecure side of me that believes if I become a minimalist, that will make me a better/smarter/happier/insert adjective here person – NOT what I’m going for here). So my goal is to just continue writing in my journal and sort out who I really am and what I really want (answering the questions you posed in your post about practicing self care through journaling).
    In one of your posts that I can’t find at the moment, you mentioned fear holding you back from blogging (I think it was you – I apologize if I’m mistaken). I feel this way. I’d like to start blogging, but a lot of what “they” say is that you need to be an expert in something – what can your audience learn from you? I feel like the things I’m interested aren’t things I’m expert at – far from it. Any suggestions on how to get started?

    Reply
    • HI April – thanks for stopping by! And I love that you’re using your journal to work out your feelings!! I’m also an all or nothing person so I completely understand the impulse but taking time to really work out your motivation, etc, is definitely what minimalism is about for me (as opposed to just decluttering!).

      About blogging – I honestly don’t feel like I’ve ever been able to write from the point of view as an expert. I try every once in a while but I think my readers see through it and don’t respond as well when I do. Instead, I think people want to connect with other people who are still in the process of figuring things out.

      For most of my posts, I write about whatever I’m dealing with at the moment. Even though I’m giving advice, it’s usually the advice I need to give myself (if that makes sense!). So my best advice for you is to write about what you’re going through and what is working for you (although give yourself some time to edit your work. With this method, my first draft is usually pretty raw!).

      I hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by and good luck with everything!! 🙂 xx Jen

      Reply
  7. Beautiful, honest words, woman! 🙂 Especially I can relate to the part about saying goodbye to the image that you WANTED and accepting your real image. When I looked at the empty walls in my minimalist home I thought: the empty wall does not need any form of optimizing! It is perfect by itself. So am I! 🙂

    Reply

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