Finding what sparks joy.

Some of you might recognize this term from a certain Netflix series from a certain Japanese woman… this term has turned itself into the mantra of my life and my approach to minimalism. But what is it exactly? Well, it comes from Marie Kondo, who has been tidying up houses all over the USA and inspiring people around the world to get their life together once and for all.

The Konmari method involves taking everything out of your drawer/closet/space and dumping it into a literal pile, then you take each item one by one and ask yourself; “Does this spark joy?” If it does, go on and put it in its own little category, if it doesn’t, thank it (Yes! Recognise what that object did to improve your life and thank it) then let it go in a reasonable way (Avoid throwing it away! Try charity shops (thrift stores), gifting it, repurposing it or recycling it, and if there’s no other solution, throw it away)

Sweet and simple. And it frees you from the burden of just having piles and piles of useless junk forgotten at the bottoms of drawers and drawers. There’s something so relieving knowing that when you look for something, you won’t need to search through a bottomless pit of junk before you find it and that you didn’t need to throw away everything you love to get there!

It’s about choosing joy.

If you love your huge book collection, this isn’t about getting rid of all of them and buying an e-reader, this is about getting rid of what you think you might need one day but instead wastes your time and money and clogs up your life more than helps it.

A lot of people think that minimalism is about getting rid of everything you own, and only owning one thing, but that’s not true at all! Minimalism is about freeing yourself from maximalism, owning everything. I know it’s not for some people, some people like their little knick knacks, and don’t feel complete until every pocket has something in it. I get it, I’m the kind of person that likes to have everything in my backpack, I love it! But I hate having loads of stuff I don’t need all over my desk and having to dump it all on my bed to use it and then having to dump it on the desk again to go to sleep. Let me tell you, getting stabbed by a pencil at 7am is not a fun way to wake up.
What I’m saying is it’s a choice, of freedom from… stuff.

Matt D’avella has a video that makes this point very well, I recommend watching it to learn a bit more about what this really is:

A Day in the Life of a Minimalist – Matt D’avella

Sometimes, life gets too clogged up and messy to function properly, and when you find a way to free yourself of that clutter, it can be just what you need to make yourself a life worth living for.

Check out Marie Kondo’s website to learn more about Konmari-ing.

If you liked the video, check out some more of Matt D’Avella’s stuff at his youtube channel and website.

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Rewriting my life.

On my previous post, I mentioned radically changing my life and I’d like to do a little post about that. This could be a great opportunity to properly set up what this blog is all about.

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee, somewhere in Italy and I started thinking to myself: “How the fuck did I get here?”.

It’s the start of the 10s, I was 13 years old and the moment I arrived in Brazil, I decided that no matter how permanent my parents want living there to be, I’d be back in England ASAP. And all I needed was a goal to get going, but that wasn’t what got me to change everything just yet.

The faux leather bullet journal

So let’s do a time skip, near the end of my ‘Ensino Médio’, which is the final three year stretch of Brazilian education before any higher education like University. There was this girl I liked, and I wanted to impress her, so how did I go about doing that? Well, she was a very organised person and she had a very organised timetable, that she showed me once. So I decided I would show her how organised I was by having my own timetable. And somehow, that evolved into an improvised bullet journal (which actually super helped me out with my first job as a teacher at the time) and then into this awesome faux leather one that I was very proud of.

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My first bullet journal

That didn’t really impress her how I wanted to (obviously), but what it did do, was kick start my path to becoming the person who I wanted to be instead of being what I thought others wanted me to be I could finally decide for myself and hold myself accountable. With that, I managed to try some awesome things that I had never tried before and I truly learned who I was!

I really recommend trying it out even if you end up finding out it doesn’t work for you, it’s a great opportunity to find yourself, mature and grow as a person. You can check out a tutorial on how to do it for yourself over here at the bullet journal website:
https://bulletjournal.com/pages/learn
You can also try checking them out on YouTube or Reddit for some inspiration for your own crazy BuJo setups, and if you try it out, make sure to show me the wonderful things you’ve managed to do! ❤

On the next post, I’ll talk a little bit about the next thing that helped me and it’ll be the main focus of the lifestyle part of this blog.

What social anxiety taught me.

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee, somewhere in Italy and I started thinking to myself: “How the fuck did I get here?”. I went from being a shy little introvert who couldn’t talk to people even if my life was on the line, so I figured out I could find what made me click and what got me to radically change my life and share that here in this blog.

Quick side note, I’m not a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a therapist (so get your grains of salt out) but I know I can at least help someone realise that they matter and that they can get themselves out of this hole, because, as cheesy as it sounds, it gets better!

Below, I condensed everything that made me change into three things that anxiety taught me. It’s simple, but it sparks joy for me, so why keep it to myself, right?

A lie.

“Be better.”, sounds like something helpful doesn’t it? But if you don’t have a focus, it’s a recipe for disaster. If you want to ‘be better’ to please everyone it’ll never be enough, because it’s just not possible. Everyone has their own tastes and you can’t entertain them all without burning yourself out. (trust me, I had to learn that the hard way)

So what do you do? Change your focus! Focus on what pleases you, what makes you content. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of effort, but every time you fall it’s easier to get up, and that’s what you need to work at. What helped me the most to break out of this was mostly blogs I stumbled upon around the internet, so this is my chance to give back.

Let’s start with some reading that can help you break the cycle:
http://overshyness.com/i-have-no-personality/

A skill.

If you think about it, learning to get up off the ground is helpful but it’s not gonna stop you from falling down in the first place. So how do I do that?
Well, this one takes a bit of simple logic, so here goes:

Social skills are skills.

Simple, right? What I mean is, you’re not going to stop being awkward if you don’t try to. The only thing that makes people not ‘awkward’ is that they’ve learned their social skills. And having these skills can be vital to not spiral down into getting your emotions mixed up with reality like I did.

So how can you do it? Well, I know it’s not easy, but you need to practice your social skills by getting out and into social situations. Another blog post I have bookmarked from way back when comes from the same website as before and it talks about this exact same thing! Here it is.

For example joining a class or a sport with complete strangers which will give you a chance to talk about that sport or activity. This gives you an instant conversation point as well as views and ideas you can express and others will be able to share.

A truth.

So far I’ve talked about getting up after you fall and learning not to fall in the first place, but what’s the root of the problem here? Thing is, that one doesn’t have a simple answer like the others, in my case I got so worried about others seeing me without flaws that I forgot who I was and I lost touch with reality. I drifted so far that I couldn’t see what was wrong anymore and I felt helpless and lost.

What I needed was something that sometimes can be so easy to get, and if you’re reading this now it means you can get it too.

I needed help.

I managed to get my help through some friends at my university who saw I was blindly suffering.
I managed to get help through some people that would listen, talk, and guide me through my problems, when I got therapy.
I managed to get help when I actually looked for it.

I found the root of what was tearing me apart. And I want to help people know that they need help too.

That’s why I want to focus on what makes us content and not on making content.

Please be thoughtful, people have flaws, if they don’t listen to you it doesn’t mean you’re worthless.