In this How To Minimalism series, we’re going on a journey towards a more intentional life of less. In the first post of this series, we looked at what this means in terms of paring down our material possessions. Decluttering encourages us to be mindful of the physical stuff we bring into our lives and helps us understand that what we own is not who we are.
But what about the nonphysical parts of our lives? Can they be “decluttered”, too? For the rest of the series, we’ll be answering that question.
Here’s the first post in the series, if you missed it:
Here’s what’s ahead:
- 2. Four Ways to Create Intentional Relationships (That’s this one!)
- 3. Mindful Time Management: Spend Your Time Intentionally
- 4. How to Direct Your Energy Towards Your Passions.
P.S. I created a Minimalism Guidebook to go along with this series. Get your free copy here!
This time, we’re talking relationships. Let’s dig in.
Relationships are central to our lives. They play a huge part in the choices we make and also dictate how we spend much of our time. Part of living an intentional life, then, involves examining the people around us. Beyond the material possessions in our homes, who are the people we are letting into our lives?
1. Let go of negative relationships.
Relationships are not static. Like people, they change with time. A relationship that was once very positive may develop into something less than ideal over time. So it’s useful to evaluate your relationships regularly and look out for negative experiences.
A simple way to check in on your relationships is by tracking a month of social interactions. Log your daily encounters including work, outings and home life. Now, take a step back. Who are you spending most of your time with? Are you surprised?
Look at your social interactions and think about how you feel after spending time with these other people. Are all of these experiences positive? Do any of these encounters leave you feeling drained, exhausted, or down?
If you come across a relationship that is continually negative, consider cutting this person out of your life. While this may sound harsh, it will likely be a step forward for both of you. If someone is having a negative influence on your life, chances are you are not good for them either. Everyone deserves relationships that are mutually positive and fulfilling.
Need help evaluating the relationships in your life? Take the quick relationship quiz in my Minimalism Guidebook – get it here!
2. Reach out to the people you love.
Letting go of bad relationships is tricky, but here is the fun part. Now it’s time to hunt down the people you most enjoy. After tracking your interactions for a month, was anyone underrepresented? Was there a special person completely missing from the lineup?
Maybe you noticed that one individual that makes you feel great was hardly given any of your time. Think about the people in your life and ask yourself who makes you feel motivated, inspired and hopeful. Who makes you feel most like yourself?
If you feel great around a certain person, it is likely that you make them feel the same way. So spend more time with them! Send them a text or give them a phone call and let them know you want to see them.
3. Go out and meet people.
After looking at a typical month of your social interactions, you may feel that you’re lacking positive influences in your life. Does it look like most of your time was spent at work or in front of the television? Or was all of your social time spent with people you feel unhappy around?
While meeting new people is hard for the best of us, it is totally possible to find new friends at any stage of life. A great way to track down likeminded others, is by searching for clubs relating to your interests. You can search online for local meetup groups or join a local painting, music or fitness class.
If you can’t find anything appealing in your area, try online communities on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Almost any topic out there has a related Facebook group and in many of them you’ll find interesting and meaningful conversation. Try searching hashtags on Instagram to connect with others with similar interests.
4. Contribute to your community.
We are social animals and most of us feel a deep sense of wanting to belong. Loneliness is more common than any of us like to admit. A great way to feel connected to the world around us is by helping others.
Opportunities to volunteer are all around us. Giving back not only makes us feel good but connects us with others who are interested in the same causes we are. Do an online search for local charities and check out their volunteer pages.
Intentional relationships bring more inspiration and more joy into our lives. Up next, we’re exploring how intentional time management helps us uncover more space for the activities we love. Go here for Time Management: Spend Your Time Intentionally!