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5 Ways Simple Living is more about your internal work than external

I just posted about these 8 Powerful Reasons to help you Live Simply by Courtney Carver…and I CAN’T stop thinking about them. It has reminded that simple living is so much more about the soul than anything else! For me, it’s never been about decluttering or having a certain number of clothing items in my closet. Those could be helpful tools to help focus on the soul, but they aren’t the end game. They are just pieces that could be part of the process.

I started to "live simply" because my life felt out of alignment. I didn't necessarily call it simple heart just told me to slow down. If I truly think about it, the ways I’ve changed since seeking to simplify life aren’t as much in the external, but the internal. It’s those reminders Courtney Carver said, like caring less what others think and being ok with being misunderstood that I’ve really tried to adopt. They are things I have to remind myself all the time. We can please others at the expense of ourselves, or we can start honoring our own hearts.

How can we continue to take steps to honor our hearts in this simplicity journey? Try these:

1) Spend time with your heart

Shift your focus from any racing thoughts and breathe through your heart space. Slow your breathing to get your heart rate down and to be in a more relaxed emotional state.

2) Learn to live with the discomfort

I know this from both myself and when I work with clients, one of the hardest parts of this process is staying in the discomfort. Sometimes we think because making the right choice for us feels uncomfortable (others are unhappy with us, we feel judged) that we need to hurry up and change it back to please others. Wrong. So wrong. It feels uncomfortable because we are used to accommodating others. Take a step back, breathe, and know it’s ok to feel uncomfortable when doing something new. It’s STILL ok to move forward with what you need.

3) You’re right. They’re right.

One thing I’ve seen over the past few years is this either-or mindset take over. Everyone thinks there’s a clear right or wrong answer for EVERYTHING. If you don’t believe or think the way I do, or lead your life the way I do, then you’re wrong and I’m right. Have you seen this? It makes me think back to my philosophy class at Virginia Tech when we learned about big T truth and little T truth. (Big T being absolute truths and little t being those things that are more personal in nature). We’ve made those personal decisions out to be absolute truths…right or wrong. The more we hold onto this way of thinking the more strained relationships we will have.

This way of thinking actually shows emotional immaturity. The term I often throw around here is differentiation. People who use this way of thinking lack differentiation. Meaning, we have a separate self from others- different wants, beliefs, desires. Both can coexist.

4) Practice saying no.

Anyone remember Allen Iverson? How he said, “we talking about practice?” He said he didn’t need practice as a professional basketball player. But I do…and you do to. We need practice saying "no." It can be easier to choose you and listen to your heart around people outside of your family FIRST. When we practice on those outside our families it feels less risky and emotionally charged. It gives us the confidence to then do the same thing within those relationships where it feels harder. Try it at work. Try it with friends. Just practice.

5) Choose you.

Take a little breather if you need it. Don’t make decisions if you feel locked under pressure. Choose you. Now, I know in any relationship there is some give and take. But, majority of the people I talk to who need help with this need to go through a period of consistently choosing their own heart.

Simplifying our lives is as much an internal game as an external. We can listen to our hearts and live a life in line with our own values. It won't always be a life that others agree with, but it's a life where we don't have to give up ourselves for the sake of others. Happy rooting, everyone!

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