Simplicity Begins in Us


“Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” – Confucius

Our relationship with ourself is the most important relationship in our life. There has never been a moment when you weren’t with you in the past and there will never be a moment when you won’t be with you in the future. We are with ourselves every moment of every day.

For some, this is a terrifying concept. They don’t like themselves and constantly wish they were someone or something different. Jealousy, envy, and discontent are common themes in their lives. And for them, simplicity is difficult to attain.

They seek out diversion and distraction. After all, if you don’t like being yourself, the television, the magazine, the iPod, or the Internet can quickly become an easy escape. This invited distraction breaks the silence and brings even more opportunity for discontent into our lives.

This is a shame. For there is great confidence to be found in contentment and solitude.

On the other hand, some embrace the other extreme. They fall so deeply in love with themselves and their own pursuits they lose all reason and objectivity. They become self-obsessed, self-absorbed, and self-seeking. As a result, they have lost all ability to think about others, admit mistakes, or show restraint. Their lives are often marked with pride, greed, and selfishness.

Again, this is a shame. For there is great strength to be found in humility and service to others.

But those who strike a balance between the two extremes are nearest to simplicity.

They learn to humbly embrace their uniqueness. They discover contentment in their circumstances. They find joy in centering their lives around others. They seek out a greater purpose than the glorification of themselves.

And for them, simplicity is nearest.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Be yourself…cos everyone else is taken…

    Another really nice article..made me introspect about the way I have been living my life the last few years…and what I have realised is that I had been spending very little time actually getting to know myself..getting the know why I am here and what is my major definite purpose…I think we all have our own ways of getting to know that inner being but for me it has been guided meditation with’s not that difficult..I started with 5 minutes and gradually I have been able to meditate more and more each day…Another way to find out how unique we really are is to use our talent to bring value to people’s lives and make them smile…thanks for this wonderful article!…

  2. says

    Well put, Josh. I will add a wonderful quote from Mother Teresa: “Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere — in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers and in the animals.”

  3. says

    For me the balance between being self absorbed and self depricating is to realize that you are yourself which is a part of this wonderful universe that is everything that exists. It takes every little part to make it work.

    Dan @

  4. says

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. There really are two extremes and if you launch too far in either direction, you’re screwed. But find that sweet spot in the middle and you’re set. Like Dave said though, we veer all the time, but knowing where to come back to is key.

  5. says

    We all come to a point in our lives where we must choose between turning around to become part of the crowd or traveling the uncertain road toward our uniqueness. Anyone can be like others, but only I can be me. We must choose to keep moving. The only other option is turning back. We know the results of being there because we’ve been there before.

  6. says

    For me, self-acceptance has always gone hand in hand with acceptance of others. When we can see the beauty in our own uniqueness, we are ready to see the beauty of everyone around us.

  7. says

    For me, Yoga has helped a lot in accepting myself. For the longest time, when I was a teenager, I hated my body, and I had a hard time loving myself. Running in my late teens and early twenties, and yoga in my late twenties, helped me love my body as it is. Thank you for that reminder.

  8. says

    Our assumptions about the world, often based on past experiences, can really cloud the way we relate to others and to ourselves. I found that I was acting selfishly, because I didn’t believe that I was important enough to have an impact on others. We can do good and help others, without being at peace with ourselves, but we can do so much more when we realize that every little thing we do, matters.

  9. anniep says

    You made me think! Thank you! I enjoy my solitude, I guess that means I enjoy my own company. This is a time for me to reflect and recharge. I have met people that do not understand this and insist I should be in the company of people 100% of the time. I had a neighbor say that I was depressed, funny, I don’t feel depressed. I enjoy the company of my co-workers, family and Church family most everyday and I am involved in service to others. But I enjoy coming home to my quite time. Thanks again!

  10. Jamil Popatia says

    Lovely insights here and how true that so many people are uncomfortable in their own shoes. As Joshua mentioned, balance is the key as one does not want to be self-satisfied but also one does not want to be in a self-loathing, self-absorbed state. For such a state, one of my spiritual teachers said the remedy is service to others.

  11. vina williams says

    Hi Mr.Joshua I just follow u’r twitter.. Be honest I want to
    U very much,before I’m so give up with people here.. I’m a freelance teacher
    I teach for free for children here,not much its going for 5 children n u know what,I teach them about value,disciplined etc but unfortunately they parents doesn’t understand it
    And they blame me for why I disciplined their children.. So sad for me,I teached them
    Just for their children succes in the future,I just stop the class n getting frustated fells no one beside me,n one parents makes me more sad because I taking care for his son in my house,because his children sick,but his father always pick him when he start better n return to me when he sick again,time goes bye,over2 n over it always repeat,n it getting makes me so angry,because of their un disciplined habits,n the worse of my frustated I ask them to leave my house,but next I’m so regret for what I’m doing for them..,this afternoon,I told to my husband I won’t help ppl anymore,I won’t closed my class even my heart for helping people,I was so mad with them who never gratitude to God for whati’m doing for them..,but suddenly I opened up my Blackbery n I read teacher pat n I got u’r post.. N u up my never give up spirit for children here.. I wnt to say so many thanks to u..,I live in Jayapura Papua indonesia,in a small town,was worked at Bank,but resigned because I follow my husband move here,he is worked @government here.. Thanks Mr.Joshua n sory for this long post.. God bless u abudantly :)

  12. says

    Very well put. As an introvert I enjoy having time for myself and have simplified a lot of aspects of my life in the past few years. Now the balance begins on the other side, opening again while keeping my values.

  13. Sam Eddy says

    So true.

    If you wish you were someone else or something different, you lose out on a lot of confidence in being contented with yourself and being is solitude when you need it. Also, if you are too full of yourself and all you think about is you, you lose out on a lot of strength in being humble and touching people’s lives.

    It’s kind of like feeling inadequate about your success.

    Before you achieve your goal, you are like “If only I could do this, I’ll be fine.” But as soon as you do, you get overwhelmed by what you haven’t achieved.

    The point? (And I do have one)

    You can’t get by with being one of the two exclusively.

    When you become the person you wish you were (because you hate yourself), you’ll find something is still missing. You’ll be incomplete.

    But before then? You’ll feel like if only you could just achieve your goal, everything will be fine. The same goes for if you’re too full of yourself.

    The bottom line:

    You need to mix it up. You need to juggle it together.

    Because when you do, everything becomes clearer. Everything becomes less complicated. Everything becomes simple.

    And that’s how life should be. A life with purpose. A life with direction for where you’re going.

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