I can hardly believe that January is almost over. While my days are now filled with less, time still seems to tick over at marathon speed and the days which have comprised 2017 so far have just flown by! I recall that I started this blog at the end of December last year, so that means it has been just over a month since Simple Life Experiment joined the blogosphere!
This past month-and-a-bit has been a wonderful time of introspection and growth; putting pen to paper has really made me aware of some of my thought processes surrounding transitioning to a simpler life, and just how positive that transition has been for my mental, emotional and physical health. I feel I have really cemented my commitment to living simply and leaving a lighter footprint, and the sense of joy that commitment is bringing to my life is incredible. I feel light, energised and positive. I feel better about every aspect of my life, more ‘me’, because I am living a life that truly aligns with my values rather than the one that was planned out for me by the establishment. Now instead of feeling awkward about being different, I’m happy to be going against the current. Sometimes, you just have to paddle a little harder.
The last month has also been a time of wonderful community-building for me, as some very kind souls have read and commented on the blog, and I have had the chance to discover their blogs, too. Honestly, I was not really expecting anyone to find my blog, let alone read it, but I have been pleasantly surprised and delighted to be able to connect with like-minded people online. I have discovered that the online minimalist community is wonderfully welcoming, and it’s huge. A big thank you to everyone who has made me feel welcome around these parts!
So let’s keep rolling with the theme of positive change and connection, shall we? Today I would like to share with you my thoughts on the ripple effect, which is something I’ve become acutely aware of since I began pursuing a minimalist life. Here I’m referring to what I would describe as the way in which positive change radiates from a changemaker and allows other people to share in it. I’m the first one to say that this sounds like spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but it’s true. I have come across resistance – or at least uncertainty and ignorance – towards my lifestyle choices, but more than anything I have come across curiosity and a willingness to listen and learn. It has been incredible to observe how many interesting conversations have been sparked by my choices, and not only with friends and family, but with strangers, too. It was just yesterday I posted on Instagram about a zero-waste win that I had recently (here‘s the post), which has been just one of many encounters surrounding minimalism and waste reduction which have left me feeling genuinely supported by people who are not living the same lifestyle as me.
In my opinion, the presence or absence of the ripple effect comes down to the way in which we live out our values. The people around us will quickly pick up on how we go about living out what we believe in, and will perceive our belief systems accordingly. Each day, we can choose joy over fanaticism, perseverance over frustration, explanation over defensiveness, acceptance over judgement and education over evangelism. With these simple tools, the ripple effect is born.
The negative people are kind of a given but we can choose how we react to them. If I come up against resistance, I figure there is no point in retaliating. Instead, I remain positive, communicate constructively and just keep doing my thing. When we broadcast our beliefs with aggression and judgement, we are effectively blocking the opportunity for others to see the world our way. On the other hand, when we live out our values joyfully, we promote the ripple effect and invite those around us to share in the thing that is bringing so much meaning to our lives.
So if you think what you’re doing doesn’t matter – that no one notices, no one cares, no one understands – well, it’s not true, or at least it won’t be for very long. People notice. Even if they don’t physically see what is going on with you, they can sense it. They might not know what kind of changes you have made in your home, or in your heart and mind, or in whatever aspect of your life that has changed for the good, but they’ll sense your serenity and will want to know more.
Have you noticed the ripple effect going on around you, too?