Worthwhile interactions make life more purposeful, they make life worth living.
Joshua Fields Millburn, the Minimalists
Minimalism is a commitment to creating less waste, and being less frivolous and materialistic in your day to day life. It’s a big commitment that requires a lot of little steps, just like your relationship. You may find when you start dating as a minimalist your standard dating rituals will change a bit. But you will also see that a minimalist approach to your romantic life, and relationships in general, can create healthy and harmonious space in your life, that you can fill with positive relationships and good memories.
1. Let Go Of Emotional Clutter
Clutter doesn’t just mean spring cleaning and emptying the house. To get yourself ready for a healthy relationship, you’ll want to work on clearing out your emotional clutter. Leave the baggage of previous relationships before you begin with a new one. Otherwise, it’s impossible to give your new love a real chance.
It’s like when you move. You almost inevitably downsize. Even if you’re moving into a bigger place, moving is an excellent opportunity to get rid of broken things you’ve been saving on the off chance you can fix them, gifts you don’t want that you feel obligated to keep because of the sender, or other things you should have gotten rid of a long time ago. Moving is an excellent opportunity to get rid of stuff you don’t need, and make room for the new and exciting.
Relationships work the same way. If you’ve had a severe heartbreak, or are struggling with another relationship issue, put in the work before you go looking for the “right person” again. Clean out your emotional attic and get rid of those unwanted gifts, to make room for all new feelings and experiences.
2. Be Yourself
Minimalism isn’t about taking a moral high ground on materialism. It’s about being authentically yourself and keeping only the things that are important to you. To draw the right people into your life, you’ll want to be yourself. No surprises or fakes. It’s a lot healthier than putting on a front to impress someone who might not appreciate everything the real you has to offer, when the mask comes off. Just like you don’t want to accumulate a lot of stuff to keep up with the Joneses, you don’t want to take up mental and emotional real estate for things that don’t matter to you. It’s a great way to ensure you’re only cultivating relationships with people who can appreciate everything you have to offer.
3. Be Present
Mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with minimalism. Making quality time with the people you care about is the best way to keep the ones who matter in your life. It’s also a great way to get rid of fair-weather friends. Sometimes, the relationships we have in our lives are superficial, but we don’t even notice. Work friends, neighbors, and other acquaintance take up our time and energy, but the relationships may be superficial. Even worse is the long-term friends you don’t see or hear from unless they need something. Don’t be that person. Take the time, and make an effort to build quality relationships by being mindful. Be present. Be there for the people who love you, not just when they need you, but by creating good quality memories together.
4. Make Your Relationship Your Own
Society puts a lot of pressure on our relationships. Whether it’s the idea that you need a romantic partner, or that there are only a set number of ways to celebrate your romance, and be romantic, the media, your friends and family, and all of society seems to have a stake in your romantic relationship.
That can make it difficult to set your boundaries and forge your own path. Don’t let public opinions on your relationships sway yourself. Once you start practicing mindfulness and authenticity, you’ll be amazed when you realize how much of your relationship expectations have been shaped, not by what makes you feel happy and fulfilled, but by the shape a relationship is supposed to take in our lives. Be your real self. Take inventory of what you truly want in your relationships and make them about celebrating the two of you.
5. Share Experiences
Minimalism in relationships doesn’t need to mean a lack of romance. Sure, it’s not all about flowers and chocolates, but it doesn’t need to be. Get rid of your traditional ideas of romance. Learn to find the passion in shared experiences, and a sense of tackling new challenges and unique adventures. It’s a lot more meaningful than traditional gifts and trinkets to impress a date, that’s for sure! It’s also a lot more personal and will lead to a deeper connection between you and your loved ones.
6. Cultivate Relationships You Want
It’s amazing how many relationships we maintain out of a sense of duty or because it feels inevitable. There is always time for small talk, and you should embrace the opportunity to make new connections, but you should keep in mind that the more superficial or “fluff” relationships you maintain, the harder it is to create real connections. Just like there’s only so much space for your belongings, there’s only so much space in your mind and heart for deep, meaningful relationships.
Be sure to set your boundaries, and don’t feel obligated to keep relationships that you find draining, or emotionally taxing. Yes, we all have family and friends who can be negative, or whom we disagree with. But you don’t need to give them more time in your life than is absolutely necessary.
Minimalism isn’t just about cutting out your personal waste. It’s all about finding meaning in your life, and living deeper, stronger bonds with the world around you, and your sense of self. To do that, you’ll want to cultivate better, more meaningful and more positive relationships. And to ensure you find people in your life who share your values and embrace your love of experiences and meaning over material things, state your intentions, and follow the tips found in this guide.