How To Really, Truly Simplify Your Life



15_IMG_1252_MarkIantoscaPhotographed by Mark Iantosca.
In the age of constant communication, 24/7 jobs, and mandatory multitasking, finding a moment for reflection is almost impossible — almost. Courtney Somer made mental wellness her mission, creating Eyla, an online resource packed with inspiration and real-life tools to maintain your personal peace. We'll be sharing some of this goodness every week on R29 Guest Stars, so whether you're looking to get spiritual, clear your mind, or just read some motivating interviews, Eyla is here to help you shine brighter.

When I hear the word “simplify,” feelings of bliss, peace and calm wash over me and I feel lighter. I imagine how much easier everything would be if I chose to live more simply. Yet I’ve found the process of achieving this goal can be overwhelming and stressful and quite honestly isn’t always, well simple.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve moved homes many, many times. And, in the next few months, I’ll be moving once again. With each move I’ve viewed it as an opportunity to let go of what I no longer need or want. Some moves are more successful than others.

And I’ve accomplished this — for the most part. As I unpack the boxes and settle into my new home and have found the “perfect place” for my belongings I let out a breath and can relax. Then when it comes time to pack up and move again, I can’t help but wonder how I still end up with so many things that I haven’t worn, used or enjoyed — how does this happen?

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One reason is that because we’re constantly evolving and changing, our needs and preferences change. What we wanted and liked six months ago, may or not be what prefer today.

Taking an inventory of “the stuff” in our lives on a regular basis is a key to keeping life simple, manageable and fun. Before purchasing something new, ask, “Is this something I LOVE? Do I really need it now? Can I live without it?” When you choose to fill your home only with things you need and love, your home becomes a functional sanctuary rather than a cluttered, not so peaceful, living space.

This same approach can be applied to every other area of our lives including relationships. Begin with an honest inquiry. Does this relationship bring me joy? Is this relationship mutually beneficial? How is this relationship serving me? Relationships are another form of clutter taking up our energy, time, and attention. If you’re feeling drained by certain people in your life you have a choice — either renegotiate the relationship or bless its gifts and let it go.

Letting go of people isn’t as simple as discarding extra paper or clothing, but when done with love and compassion healing is possible. I recently let go of two friendships and one business relationship. Although I loved my friends, I was “giving” more in the relationship than I was receiving and it didn’t feel balanced.

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Although the conversations with both individuals weren’t easy, they were necessary for my happiness. The result — I feel like a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I have even more time for the relationships in my life where there’s mutual love, admiration and respect. Letting go of people, places and things that no longer serve us or bring us joy not only creates space, but signals to the universe we’re ready (and have room) for something greater. When our life is already too full, we can’t receive all of the gifts that life has in store for us.

As I prepare for moving this time, I vow to let go of everything that I no longer really, really need, want or love. Letting go leads to happiness.

This post was authored by Lori Ostenfeld.