20 Things I've Learned Since I Turned 20

A Reply To Lauren’s Letter: Starting Point – Minimalism, Ending Point – Abundance

A Reply To Lauren’s Letter: Starting Point – Minimalism, Ending Point – Abundance 
Hey peeps, today we’re talking ‘minimalism’...sort of. Today’s article is a reply to a letter I received from Lauren a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy <3

Hey Antoinette,
It has taken me many many times to convince myself that sharing my thoughts and being open will help myself, plus help any other people who are feeling exactly the same way. This isn’t, I would say, a ‘happy’ letter, but more of an advice-needed letter.
Here goes.
I am truly lost in myself and life, where I don’t feel like ‘Me’ anymore. I used to be so outgoing, care-free and so happy that I didn’t have care in the world – I would say ‘Yes’ to everything as I thought it would help lead me to my path in life. I thought it would take me on the path to happiness, but I guess I was wrong; maybe I am just going through a tough time with myself, you know?
Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever feel like you need to leave and never come back? Do you feel you need a break just to find yourself again in hope that it will change your perspective on life and decisions themselves?
Antoinette, sorry for all the questions. The main question I want to ask you is: have you ever lost yourself?
I feel like I need help and advice to become myself again, and whilst reading your blog I feel like you are one of the happiest and caring ‘bloggers’ to date. Do you have any advice or tips?
I have written a full length blog post about how I am feeling in full detail right now.
Much love,
Lauren Nicole O’Hara

Hey lovely girl,

Thank you for dropping me this letter.

A few months ago I drafted a letter ?Lose Yourself to Find Yourself? as a reply to E., through which we came to the conclusion that sometimes all you need to do is completely lose a sense of who you are in order to give yourself the chance to become the person you wanna be.

But let?s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?
For a couple of weeks now, I?ve been rethinking my life and all that I want accomplish. Especially, since I purchased my one-way ticket to Copenhagen, for the first time in many years I felt ?FEAR.? Quite bewildering, I should admit, especially as new beginnings have always been my thing. Leave your country behind, go settle down somewhere else, and start over with a big loud bang. Great, eh?

But going to live somewhere else is equal to getting rid of your feelings and thoughts, as no matter how far away you may go, they will tag along with you. So, before you book your ticket to Thailand or any other Buddhist destination in hopes of ‘finding yourself’, there are a couple of things you might wanna do first.

I?m a passionate extrovert, meeting new people, proving myself worthy to them, and spending time with them feeds my [Ego’s] hunger. That?s why a few years back when I ended up investing all of my energy in my relationship (yep, I ceased meeting up with my friend, going out, etc.) in no time I turned into a bleak shadow of the ‘me’ I so much enjoyed being, the ‘me’ that my acquaintances loved spending quality time with. It took me years to realise that I hadn’t lost myself back then –  I was still myself, but a version that I didn?t particularly like.
I was no longer the communicative and cheery girl people knew, instead I had turned into a housewife, who was doing her best to prove how worthy a girlfriend she was to the only person who wouldn’t say ‘Well done!’. I meant, with her EGO begging to be appraisedIt was a vicious circle of trying and yet constantly failing to prove that I was the best one boy could possibly get. Guess what? I was the one who got dumped and left with her Ego badly bruised at the end. Rather than learning from my mistake and acknowledging that my Ego was the moving force behind my mistakes, I yet again sought to prove myself worth it by turning my attention back again to the whole ‘I need to socialise big time [be adorned by people] so that I can feel better about myself’ thing.

Up until I received your letter I thought I was happy being that cheerful, bubbly, always out and about version of ?ME?. Well?

Yesterday, I spent an hour on the phone with my mom. I hadn?t cried for ages, and yet I was sat there with my tears streaming down my cheeks. I used to get so hyped up from the thought of moving from  one country to another. She was so puzzled by the lack of excitement my voice. Over the last few months I was working at a club part-time and was constantly communicating with people. And here I am, today, packing my bags to go to a place where I barely know anyone? For a second I imagined myself strolling down the streets of that ‘ghost town’, you know, feeling all empty and sad. But that?s quite typical for all addicts, isn?t it? Some get addicted to drugs, others to sadness (here) and me?  I?m addicted to being constantly with people so that I can trick myself into thinking that I’m not lonely. But as we all know – being ‘alone’ and being ‘lonely’ are two entirely different things… Similarly, flashing a [fake] smile isn’t really a sign of happiness, right?

I haven?t mentioned that before, but I loathe objects that just lie around gathering dust. I?d clean my flat at least twice a week and throw tons of ?stuff? to clear some space. And I?d be doing that over and over again and yet constantly feel as if I?m suffocating. That?s why I?d get up early each and every morning, leave my flat and go to a coffee shop where I’d spend hours blogging. Similarly to what you wanna do – run away from where you are (and yourself)  – each and every morning I’d storm off the door to get as far as I could from myself & my flat –  the place which serves as a loud reminder that I have to get rid of all the ?stuff? that trick me into thinking that I’m happy.
Calling oneself ?a minimalist? is trendy. However claiming that you?re ?a minimalist? without understanding what minimalism is, resembles calling someone who eats meat with his eyes closed – a vegan. Minimalism doesn’t mean getting rid of the clutter from your house and painting everything in black and white. That’s only the metaphor to something grander that’s yet to be understood by us ? ‘the hopeless ?abundanists? who crave to have it all. Yes, we’ve been fooled to believe that happiness comes from the outside and the best way to get it is – purchase it. Just think about it. You wanna buy a ticket to some exotic destination, firmly believing that you’ll get some happiness in a  return to your investment. However, no matter how far you go, you can’t run away from yourself, your thoughts, and current state of mind. If you’re constantly worried about the future and whether you’ll eventually end up on the path to happiness, you’re already obstructing yourself from noticing and deriving pleasure from the beautiful experiences that are taking place right now.

Today, as I was just about to engage in some badass cleaning again, the content of your letter popped back into my head. Throwing away stuff won’t change the way I feel, neither will it help me deal with my fear of being alone.So, just like that it hit me! My solution is:
Minimalism. In. The. Grander. Sense. Of. The. Word. I know, quite random, right? But bear with me, Lauren.

Becoming a ‘minimalist’ doesn?t mean giving up everything. Rather it?s about getting rid of the excess, of all the things that only trick you into thinking that you’re happy, when in fact, you’re anything but that. If it?s a person ? stop hanging out with them, if it?s an object throw it away. Becoming a minimalist is the first step to experiencing abundance, of opening up to receive what money can?t buy and let your true self thrive. Ego needs to be fed with all that comes from the outside, your true self needs solely to ‘exist’ in order to feel eternal sense of completeness. Ego needs to be adorned and recognised, your true self needs none of that. Ego needs to be stuffed with object, receive love, and in my case – hundreds of people to feel complete. Or in other words, from the point a view of your True Self – happiness is a state of mind, from the point of view of your Ego – it is a state of having it all [a lot]. My goal today ? to let go of my Ego?s need of people’s adoration to mask my worries that I’m currently not where my true self truly wanna be. It?s about coming to terms with the fact that way too often we hold on to ‘stuff’, deeply afraid that if we let go we may end up with one big ‘nothing’.

From your blog I gathered that you’re already a mother? Is that the change you were referring to in your article, Lauren?

If, yes, remember YOU is not equal to your identity of a MOTHER. Neither it is equal to your identity of a writer, a woman, or a wife.  These identities are something your Ego needs to feel confident and worthy enough with regards to everyone else. Think of your identities as the decorations we put on the Christmas tree…without them the tree is just what it is, however, the more colours you add, the more ‘beautiful’ it will supposedly become.

So really, why would you allow one of those identities to eat out all the other things that you are and you could possibly become?

Keep chasing your dreams, keep experimenting, and rather than saying ‘I have hope’ ? say ‘I have the courage to act‘. Gosh L. life is so freakin? short. Focusing all of your energy on a particular situation or change (you’re a mother now), without actually placing it in the grander context of your life – will drive you nuts. Your life is in your hands and it’s today that you should start reshaping the bits you seem unhappy with. It is not an easy thing to do and unfortunately we have no magic wands at our disposal to immediately change the current situation. However, we have the power to change the way we see life by taking small steps at a time.

By moving to Copenhagen I?m choosing minimalism, stepping out of my comfort zone, leaving all objects and people behind so that I can leave enough space for better things to come into my life. Don?t let your Ego tell you that you?re unhappy and that there?s something you lack.  Once you realise that you need nothing but yourself to experience overwhelming happiness and love, you will end up seeing the world through an entirely different lens. And that?s the thing ? Alex might love you to bits, but if you don?t love yourself too ? his love will never seem adequate enough. And certainly, the last thing you want is to one day regret that you never fell in love with yourself just the way you are.

Stripped of your identities, dreams, and Ego’s expectations. Just you – without the decorations.

Happiness is here; happiness is today. Spread out your hands and embrace it. 

Lots of love,

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