Since we were featured in USA Today last week I've received a lot of questions via email from readers. A theme keeps popping up in these questions and it is:
"Why is the mainstream media so interested in your story?"
I don't know if I have an answer to this question.
I’m on the same page as Chris. I’m not a simplicity guru. I’m not perfect. And I still have my own fears and struggles. That’s part of being human. However, I do know that the attention from the mainstream media has caused me to think hard about my life philosophy ask myself “how can I craft my life story to coincide with my values?”
It's so easy to run around everyday, spinning my wheels that I forget what's truly important. I believe there are others, like me, that want to prioritize happiness, community and strong relationships in everyday life.
So I've summarized my life philosophy here as the A, B, C's of simple living.
A stands for Authenticity.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brené Brown defines authenticity as "the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are."
Yet, I still struggle with this concept. Partially, because I'm afraid of letting my true self be seen. And it doesn't help that we live in a culture that constantly tells us we have to "fit in" to be accepted.
Authenticity is something I practice everyday. It's kind of like practicing yoga. The more I do it, the better I get.
Micro-action: Define what authenticity means to you and find out what you typically hide about yourself to “fit in”.
B stands for Bravery.
What does it mean to be brave? The dictionary defines bravery as:
ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage : a brave soldier | he put up a brave fight before losing.
In many ways, being brave is more expansive than the traditional definition. Particularly, when dealing with heavy emotions. Bravery can mean reconnecting with a person who hurt you in the past or saying “I love you” instead of being critical.
Micro-action: Make a list of the brave things you've done in your life.
C stands for Connection.
We're hungry for connection with people and community and at some level we aren't getting it. If connection was really there and present in our lives, I don't think people would be addicted to social media.
As much as we want to be connected, we're scared as hell. We're scared to let our guard down and scared of being laughed at. For example, I'm slowly rebuilding a relationship with my father. We had a falling out a number of years ago and I'm trying to reconnect with him. But I'm scared. It's hard to open up and be vulnerable. I don't want to get hurt again and I'm sure all of you struggle with similar feelings.
Micro-action: What's one real life connection you can make this week?
Closing Thoughts . . .
I've been lucky enough to downsize on my own terms. And that by itself is a luxury. There are a lot of people in the world who don't have the luxury of talking about "lifestyle design" and I believe that’s an important point to consider whenever we talk about simple living, either in the mainstream media or on blogs.
With that being said, as you move through your days remember this:
Cultivating authenticity, bravery, and connections can only happen by living your real life. I believe that’s the key to finding happiness in your everyday story.