In uncertain times; having to become socially distant from each other; especially with the UK confirminig another three weeks of lockdown, now is the perfect time to take a look at all the relationships you have. It’s an opportunty to decide which of those relationships you can minimise and which you can maximise and let thrive. Whilst minimalism focuses on reducing your physical clutter and thriving, experiencing something rather than collecting belongings, you can take the principles of minimalism and apply it to the relationships you foster everyday.
You would be surprised at how much more emotionally available you are towards every aspect of life when you remove the unnecessary elements of relationships from your day and focus on what you really want from social engagement. In normal society we make relationships based on convenience; the people who are physically close to you, who sit next to you at work or are useful for networking. If you removed the commonality of closequaters from these relationships, would you have anything else in common?
“Frequency doesn’t equal friendship.” – The Minimalists
Do your conversations leave you wanting more, do you spend your time engaging in pointless small talk or complaining about things that are unimportant in the wider world. Things that are important in your daily 9 to 5 grind, but become inconsiquential as soon as you leave work or school.
We have the ability now in our world of social media and technology to seek out poeple who share our values. Whether they are far away or just down the road, we find it easier to come across people we gel with more. We have seen this since social distancing began, the amount of people making use of Zoom, FaceTime and Skype to keep in contact with people. People are putting effort into relationships that are important to them, with family and people who share similar values to themselves. They are putting effort into the conversations and reaping the reward emotionally.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up on all those relationships built on shaky foundations, you can attempt to fix the relationship. For most people this is the preferred solution and with a bit of effort on both sides (one sided effort will reap no reward) it is entirely possible for relationships to stand the test off not having a large amount of shared values. Just remember people change, and with them the relationships they have also change.
As long as you go into fixing a relationship with the understanding of where to stop and that sometimes you have to let go and mourn that relationship in order to look after yourself. Its having just enough selfishness to care about your own wellbeing, but not too much that you are unwilling to change and negotiate. You need to look at this from both sides not only what they are bringing to the relationship but what you are bringing to that relationship. Are there things they want to change in the relationship? Can you add value? You need to give as much to a relationship as you want to receive back.
Minimalism, Mindfullness and Messy Relationships
It’s unsuprising that mindfulness and minimalism go together synontmously. Even the most superficial relationships can be emotiionally draining. When relatonships are founded on a reaching out when something is wanted, you can be even more emotionally drained after iinteractions. This doesnt help your mindset. This is just as messy in life as having a house full of clutter.
Don’t be the person that uses, don’t be the person that provides negativity into peoples relationships. You want to have a present, open mindset. Provide good emotions to people and create good quality memories. Conversly, don’t accept relationships like that. You are worth more then that and deserve to experence better relationships.
If you closed your eyes now and took a deep breath; turned your mind towards the peopel you are friends with one by one. Wouold you be happy with the contributions you are giving and recieving in that connection? Do they take up too much space in your lfe and not return enough back in response. You don’t want to waste unnecissary bandwidth and you don’t what to fill it with negative thoughts when they could be positive.
Take the results of this tiny exercise and cultivate the relatonships you want. Reach out to the people that mean the most to you and remind them that you value them. You’d be suprised at how much you givee back, you will also be supprised by how much fewer more meaningful interactions sustain your need for contact and how you will thrive having those periods of alone time and appreciate conversation more.