Less is more.

One of the popular phrases I have indifference with is, “less is more.” While I do agree that simplicity can make for a better lifestyle, I think it is important to evaluate what exactly you are lessening. Certain things in life can spare emphasis, time and attention placed on them, yet there are many other necessities which are seemingly complex. It is not one of these philosophies that is an end all, be all and just like with anything, it is all dependent on you, the individual.

The last few weeks I personally have been evaluating this less is more theory finding what I really need {and want} more of. As of late my mind has felt extra full and in an attempt to keep my head feeling “above water” I’ve found myself exceptionally reflective. If you’re reading this and you know me, you already know I’m an over-thinker. I have been my whole life. I analyze and reanalyze everything I say, do and even think. Most of the time overthinking is thought of as a crutch and don’t get me wrong, I wish I could quite the voices in my head, but I believe in a weird way it makes me a stronger person. Some of the hardest battles to win are those within yourself. Being able to confront your own mind, in my opinion, is important.

I saw a list a few years back comparing different things saying “less of this, more of this.” An original list of 14, there are 9 that stuck out to me specifically. These are topics either I felt connected to, someone I know has struggled with recently or I just felt overall were beneficial to be highlighted. As always these are my raw and pure thoughts and might not resonate with everyone the same, but nonetheless, here we go.

• Less Talking : More Listening

I remember learning back in my freshman year of college that there was a difference between hearing and listening. Listening is something that takes conscious effort. We have to make the choice to really listen to those we are with which takes the decision to close our own mouths for a few minutes. It also involves us to not already be thinking about what we will say next. Just because there isn’t sound coming from our mouths doesn’t mean that we aren’t still in talking mode. I have done this myself. There have been times that I am so focused on my next point to make that I completely disregard (not purposefully) what the other person has said. But in these instances {my} time would have been better spent slowing down and actually listening. Listening to pay attention and attend closely for the purpose of hearing – with our ears, eyes and heart (Hester, 2013).

• Less Planning : More Doing

I am a definite planner in life, but at the same time I can still understand and appreciate this one. Planning can take away from living in the here and now. At times it is easy to get drawn into trying to dictate our own future that we forget to embrace what is happening in the present. It also can make change harder to accept. When we make a plan we also set a goal, and if you’re anything like me, when you make a goal you don’t rest until you reach it. The problem I tend to encounter though is that when life happens I get frazzled because my goal is no longer feasible. Planning is necessary. There are many things that would not happen without a plan and honestly I will always be a planner, however it’s beneficial to form a happy medium. I’ve found solace in learning to go with the flow.

• Less Complaining : More Encouraging

Something I live by is the thought that there is always someone out there who is struggling equally or worse than I am. I also am a person who does not believe that someones struggle is defined based on what it sounds like as what we all can carry and face varies. It is easy to become bogged down on what is happening to you, but we hold the power on how much weight it has on us. By actively taking the spotlight off of ourselves and focusing on encouraging and or helping others the problems we are facing can begin to dissipate. Hell, we might even find ourselves forgetting whatever we were complaining about in the first place!

• Less Worrying : More Hoping

Worrying gets us nowhere. It does not have the power to fix a problem nor take it away. All it has the power to do is stress us out more than we already may be or more than we need to. In almost every scenario where I worry I find myself thinking only about the worst possible outcome that could be. Then it becomes very easy to fixate on said outcome and get stuck in a rut. There’s a pretty quick fix to eliminating unnecessary worry, think of the best things that could happen – hope. A positive mindset goes a long way.

• Less Frowning : More Smiling

Spending time frowning will not change your mood however putting a smile on your face possibly could. How? Smiling releases endorphins in your body. Endorphins, which I have seen referred to as the happy hormones, trigger a positive feeling in the body. Of course it’s not instantly going to make life better, but it could help lift your spirits. Also, fun fact, it takes less muscles to smile then it does to frown. So unless you are trying to give your face muscles a workout…smile!

• Less Doubting : More Believing

Words are commanding tools. What you think and say plays a huge role in the actions you think you can take. If you tell yourself enough times “I can’t do it” odds are you won’t be able to do it. Now this doesn’t go to say that by simply saying “I can do it” you will be able to. It is not black and white that way because completing a task or activity obviously still will take effort and work. So now you are probably asking well then what is the point. The point is that saying “I can do it” gets you one step further because you are believing in yourself, removing personal doubt. And if you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect others too?

• Less Insecurity : More Trust

This is a very hard one for me because my senior year in high school I was bullied pretty bad. After this I became skeptical of everyone. I began to live in fear of being hurt again so I would basically shut down. And I started to let it dictate my life. I would not trust someone until they gave me a reason to. I built up walls and started filtering everything. I still struggle with it here and there because when I do get hurt I want to retreat to these old ways. But, I have worked too hard to free myself of the insecurities my senior year created. What I keep in the forefront of my mind to not go back to that place and that hurt is going to happen and we all experience it. I’ve also seen firsthand how hurt yields strength. Over time I’ve learned that it is okay to trust again and its okay to get hurt; letting down my walls has brought many incredible relationships my way. 

• Less Weakness : More Confidence

Confidence is key and can carry you a long way. The world we live in makes self-doubt pretty easy to come by. The only person who should determine the level of trust and belief you have inside yourself is you, yourself. We all have everything inside of us we need to be who we are meant to be. It is important to remember that there is a difference between being confident and having a big head/full of yourself. A humble person can still portray confidence. Also, weak moments do not mean you are a weak person. Being human means that we have and experience a wide range of emotions and it is okay to show them.

• Less Hate : More Love

Far too often I have overheard people not liking others just because their friend doesn’t like them. They “hate” them without even taking the chance to get to know the person. Also, books (people) definitely get judged by their cover. I can say from personal testimonies that covers can be deceiving. Give people the time of day and I can guarantee that many will end up surprising you. As I just said in one of my latest Instagram posts, “We are all more similar than what appearances show. It’s impossible to know everyone’s background history and we all have varying experiences, but that’s what makes it even more important to not pass judgement. Think before you speak, and more importantly before you act.”

What do you find yourself needing less of, creating space for more?

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