She was all that mattered. I was deeper in debt, legal fees, and uncertainty than ever before, but I held on tight to my vow to give her more.
I would give her everything. I’d work harder, make more, buy her more, take her to see more, do more, and prove to her that everything would be okay. I had no idea that this new goal would be just as damaging, and just as hard on my heart.
My desire to give my daughter more wasn’t wrong, just misguided. While I could never have articulated it then, I did want more for both of us, but not more stuff and money.
What I wanted was more love, connection, laughter, and adventure, but that was too hard to measure. Instead, I made more money, worked more, spent more, and accumulated more. Living with less opened the door to a different kind of more: more space, more time, more light, more freedom, and yes . . . more love. It has always been about love.
My mom showered me with love on our trips to Boston, and I went into debt loving my three-year-old with Christmas presents she could never appreciate. All of the more . . . it wasn’t just for Bailey. It was for me too because I didn’t just think more + more = more, I thought more + more = love.
By letting go, I was able to see that love could stand alone. It didn’t have to come attached to presents, shopping trips, or big work bonuses or acknowledgments. I didn’t have to earn or prove love. When I got rid of the stuff, the debt, the busyness, and the distractions that were swallowing me, I was surrounded by love. It was everywhere.
I had enough.
I am enough.
I don’t need more approval.
I don’t need more money and stuff.
I don’t need more anymore.
When I discovered that I was enough without anything else, I saw that I was love. I am love. You are too. We’ve been the love we seek all along. It’s just been hiding beneath all of the layers of clutter, busyness, and show we use to protect ourselves from the pain.
Diamonds Are Not This Girl’s Best Friend
Diamonds are not my best friend but they used to be. It wasn’t just jewelry but all the things I bought to lift me up, prove my worth, and demonstrate my love. As I became more and more me and started experiencing the world from this new stuff-less place, I realized that diamonds are not this girl’s best friend.
My best friend is a magical rooftop sunrise. My best friend is the ocean. My best friend is a hike in the mountains. My best friend is a peaceful afternoon. My best friend is a really good book. My best friend is laughter. My best friend is seeing the world. My best friend is time with people I love. Diamonds have nothing on my best friends.
So yes, I want more, but not more stuff. I want more early mornings, more hiking and connecting with nature, more meaningful conversations and hand holding. More seeing the world. More creativity. More crazy ideas. More love. Always more love.
With a soulful simplicity and living with less, my life has become more than I ever imagined. Instead of more money, more stuff, more busyness, and more stepping outside of myself to be who other people may need me to be, I’m enjoying a different kind of more.
I am more myself and more connected to my heart. I am more available for people I love and projects I care about. I’m more present and focused. I have more space, time, and love in my life along with all of the other mores I craved for so long.
I am always learning something new about how simplicity works on my heart, changes my relationships, and influences my work. At first my journey was focused on tasks like decluttering, paying off debt, and downsizing. The changes started on the outside while the real work was happening on the inside.
With each thing, obligation, or assumption I let go of, I remembered who I was. I saw how far I had strayed and made it a priority to come back to myself. Forgetting who you are and living outside of your heart is painful. Do whatever it takes to come back and be more you. Give yourself all the space, time, and love you need to remember who you are.
Excerpted from Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver with the permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright© 2017 by Courtney Carver
About Courtney Carver
Courtney Carver changed her life by simplifying it after a devastating diagnosis in 2006. She’s the founder of bemorewithless.com and minimalist fashion challenge Project 333. Her new book Soulful Simplicity was published by Penguin Random House.