The Process of Creating Simplicity in Our Lives
I once believed simplicity was similar to having your house cleaned but instead of actually cleaning you just crammed everything in the closets. It looked clean on the surface for guests. I could make things look nice and seem like I had them together just don’t look beyond that point. This is not living simply though because sooner or later I’d need something from the closets or would try to add more to them and stuff would come crashing out.
Simplicity isn’t something you create but rather it is a natural byproduct of letting go of the things we don’t need. Not just physical things either but all the things. The things that stress us out, hold us back, limit our dreams, mold us into something we are not. All of it. Underneath all those things is simplicity. It was there all along but we usually bury it with life stuff. We blame life for getting in the way of us living our best every day. There are jobs to do, kids to raise and family meals to prepare and sometimes it needs to happen first before we have things simple.
The truth is even when things are busy or need to get done, they can still be simple. They can still be done in a way that honors our own needs and supports the simplicity of living well. It is largely mindset but a good dose of managing our own expectations as well. We are all programmed to pursue what we are told we should want in life. Finishing our degree, achieving a highly successful career, building a family, owning a big house with nice cars. None of these things are wrong but when that is all we pursue in life we miss out on what makes life simple. We stop pursuing things that truly make us happy too.
For a long time I simply pushed at my career. I wanted to secure income to support myself and later the family I would have with my husband. It was important for my own sense of security in this world. I thought if I could succeed at my career my other worries in this world would go away. I would be able to take care of anything if I had this career. The truth was though my career would be one of the areas of greatest disappointment for me. Not because I wasn’t succeeding but rather because it put my fate in other people’s hands. I had to be dependent on others to not lay me off, promote me, rate my performance and determine my value. I started to believe their words about those things used to measure me too.
When betrayal and other hurtful things happened in my career as a result of that alignment to their determination of my worth, it impacted my own beliefs about myself. When I would lose my job or endure abuse in the workplace, I had developed victim thinking in believing I deserved it! My life became a complicated mess of navigating what others would think of me. I placed my own worth in what others told me when it came to work. That would destroy my self-confidence and rock the financial security I wanted so badly to secure for my family.
It would take years for me to realize this pattern too. Recognizing a pattern and changing it though sometimes takes even longer. After having an abusive manager and facing health problems as a result of the stress it caused in my life I finally understood what all of that had been doing to me. I had focused so much on my career and dependence on others to secure money that I lost myself in the process. It would take me re-evaluating what it meant to be successful in my work and what role it had in my life for me to finally release the persistent push to think a job was the only way to be successful in my career.