Some may mistake simple living or minimalism as a life with little possessions. It certainly involves owning less, but it’s really a life of abundance.
Simplicity is a thread that runs from the soul, to the heart, to the mind, to the body, and then to our home and possessions. Or maybe it runs from possessions to the soul—sometimes it’s difficult to navigate which way the process flows.
Either way, minimalism is never just about less stuff. Because once the things are gone we receive a freedom with which we can’t help but explore—and that happens in the soul.
Dallas Willard writes this about the soul,
“[Soul]… includes an individual’s thoughts and feelings, along with heart or will, with its intents and choices. It also includes an individual’s bodily life and social relations, which, in their inner meaning and nature, are just as “hidden” as the thoughts and feelings.”
You see, the soul isn’t just your spiritual life. It’s who you are. It’s everything that makes you—you. Is it any wonder that our soul (our very being) gets lost in the managing and the sorting and the planning and the pretending?
We dress up our choices, our relationships, our priorities, our emotions and desires with “everything’s great!” and “I can do it all” and “if I have that, I’ll have it all” while deep inside our souls are crying out:
“I’m not okay! This is not okay! I’m about to break, unravel, come undone, and wither away. I don’t have it all together. This smile? It hurts. This ‘yes’? It’s an ‘I don’t know how to say no anymore’. This hug? I need it more than you think. Please, see me underneath these designer clothes and Pinterest perfect birthday parties. Please, tell me its okay to not be okay.”
How Minimalism Heals the Soul
Whether you need to trace the thread between your soul and your possessions or the other way around, here are twelve ways minimalism heals the weary soul:
1. Minimalism creates priorities.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” — Joshua Becker
2. It challenges the things which hurt the soul.
As we remove clutter and simplify our time and intentions, that which is hurtful to our souls becomes blatantly obnoxious. Violence in TV, movies, media; cluttered living spaces, politics, social media, lack of regular solitude… the healing process which comes from simplifying your life will challenge the routines, pastimes, and vices you barely noticed before.
3. It creates space.
Physical, mental, financial, emotional, spiritual—the white space of minimalism promotes healing as you lean, unhindered, into every aspect of your life.
4. Minimalism removes pressure to impress.
The Joneses are no longer on your radar. A healed soul knows you have nothing to prove and no one to impress.
5. It reveals unhealthy beliefs.
Minimalism sheds light on our reality. It demands our attention to long held beliefs and practices, some of which may not be healthy. Minimalism exposes and uproots the unhealthy beliefs, attitudes, or practices in your life.
6. It removes burdensome belongings.
Removing clutter is the flagship principle of minimalism. From excess to sentimental items to the impractical—your life will begin to change when you cut ties with owning more.
7. Minimalism simplifies everything.
With less in our homes, on our minds, and on our calendars we are able to handle the complicated. Simplifying prepares us for the hard of life when it inevitably happens.
8. It reminds us of who we are.
The first major breakthrough in my minimalism was coming back to who I truly am (my soul). I could see my worth, my purpose, my talents, and my faults with a clarity that was neither prideful nor depreciating. I could accept me for all that I am, because no physical belonging or unrealistic cultural standard can define me. This is incredibly healing for my soul.
9. It redefines enough.
Regardless of what you own, minimalism reminds you that you are not defined by your possessions, rather by what (and who) you value in your life.
10. It brings our own needs forward, unselfishly.
“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.” — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
11. It inspires creativity.
If Twitter has taught us anything, it’s that limitations create creativity. Abundance inspires little, but scarcity demands innovation. Designing the life you want by eliminating everything you don’t is practical and creative soul care.
12. Minimalism enforces our purpose and passions.
The true healing power of minimalism is the freedom to be ourselves. We can take up our purpose and passion with selfless joy and gratitude to offer our beautiful, unhindered souls to the world.
It’s not in the doing that we discover healing for our souls; it’s the undoing. Its unraveling the thread that runs through your inner and outer life. Slow down, pare down, and heal your beautiful soul with a simple life.