As part of my exploration of intentional living I will be doing a series of posts around My Values. A central idea behind minimalism and intentional living is living by your values. As someone who often struggles with decision making this has been eye-opening for me, the internal battle between what I want and what I should do has often led to me to make no decision at all, mainly because up until recently I haven’t been able to clearly identify what it is that I want, only that some of the choices in front of me left me feeling uneasy. At least it seems I knew what I didn’t want. The problem is that it is not easy to distinguish between that cloudy feeling of uneasiness and other feelings like fear or confusion. When I set out on this journey and this blog I was searching for joy and contentment and the question that loomed large was:
What would make you happy?
The first time I asked this of myself the answers that came back were very concrete, very material and they were full of crap. They centred on the image of a perfect life, a great house, car, job, holidays, and material possessions etc., everything we are told we should want and that will make us happy. And it might, for a while. I’m sure if I stretched my mortgage budget fully that house hunting would be a world of wonders, but how long would it be before I started nit picking between the houses just the same? Once I’ve bought my max budget house how long would the joy last? Would it fade when the reality of the monthly mortgage payment kicked in? When I realised I couldn’t keep up with the Jones’ next door? This was a bit of a trigger for going down the minimalism path. Surely I wasn’t as vapid and material as this? This wasn’t me.
Further along my journey and with some wonderful insights from The Minimalists and Alisa Vitti and Gretchen Rubin through the very inspiring Jess Lively I asked myself these questions again. The answers I got back were much more aligned with My Values; a few of them were;
- To live without debt
- To have a secure home
- To provide for my child
- To know my child needs more than “provisions”
- For my child to feel loved and wanted
- To see the world and to show it to him
- To experience cultures outside of my own
- To make new family traditions and honour old ones
- To be healthy in body and mind
- To feel valued in the workplace and value my work
Living from this view point is still a work in progress but it has made a difference to me already. I am far more contented than I was 6 months ago, as are my family. Over the next few months I will be concentrating on some of my values, like healthy living, how I incorporate them into my everyday living and how they help me focus on my larger goals
I’d love to hear from other people living life with intention and what values are guiding you along the way.