Identifying the Non-Essentials

This issue is at the heart of the practice of minimalism: what are the things that are absolutely essential to my life? Which things/activities/projects/relationships add value to my life, and which ones are draining me of vital energy that is needed elsewhere?

Ultimately it’s every individual who has to identify for him or herself what makes the short list, but I think that a few guidelines can be used to help sort them out.

For physical objects:

  1. Does this object serve an important purpose in my home?
  2. Do I have another object that can better fill this same purpose?
  3. Does it bring me joy? (A question I borrowed from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo)
  4. Does the cost of keeping it (ie, maintenance, emotional burden) outweigh its usefulness or the joy it brings?
  5. What would my life look like without this object?

For commitments:

  1. Does this commitment add joy and boost my energy levels?
  2. Does this commitment meet my personal needs in some way?
  3. Is this commitment taking up too much of my resources (time, money, emotional energy, etc)?
  4. What would my life look like without this commitment?

For relationships:

  1. How do I feel when I’m interacting with this person?
  2. Does this person understand and respect my specific health and nutritional needs?
  3. Is this person supportive and encouraging of my self-care?
  4. Do I feel like I am a valued, contributing member of this relationship?
  5. What would my life look like without my relationship with this person?

There are many different guides given by many people about how to evaluate what to keep in your life and what to toss out. These questions are by no means exhaustive on the topic, but rather just meant to be a starting point. They should help you begin to pick off the low-hanging fruit; to identify the obvious objects, commitments and relationships that are dragging you down and consuming your precious time, energy and wellness.

Identifying the superfluous in your life is important on your journey to wellness because as you weed those things out, you will begin to notice what it is that you truly want and need in your life. You are, in essence, creating space both physically and mentally to craft your life in a way that will allow you to truly thrive. You will also create space to identify which practices in your life are most health-sustaining, and how you can best manage your celiac disease. You will be tuning in more closely to your body and mind, and be better equipped to recognize what helps and what hurts. All of which supports you in creating a better quality of life.

If you have questions that you use to help you through this process, please feel free to share them with me here in the comments. I would love to hear what helps you through this process of identifying and eliminating the unnecessary from your life.

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