A first for Bookish! I’ve been given the opportunity to do an advance review of Inside-Out Simplicity: Life-Changing Keys to Your Most Important Relationships by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, an e-book that goes on sale Monday.
One of the people I wish I was more like is my friend Dana. Instead of having home internet access or the latest technological gadgets, she saves her money to pay for her vacation, which she usually spends helping people in Africa. She quietly makes her way through the world, living life as an opportunity instead of a battlefield, open to everything and easily befriending everyone. Despite my being a little hesitant around the many pastors’ kids who went to my suburban high school, my friendship with Dana has only grown stronger in the almost 15 years since we graduated. Dana was on my mind while I read Inside-Out Simplicity: Life-Changing Keys to Your Most Important Relationships, as she highly exemplifies most of the contents.
I however have a very long way to go.
The book structures its recipe for contented living from the inside out, reminding us in the beginning that having a good relationship with ourselves is the solid foundation for having positive relationships with others. This is a problem, as my relationship with myself has traditionally been rocky at best. Perhaps this provides the reader some insight on the grasp I have of the levels above this foundation.
Spouses, children, your relation to your possessions, even your relationship to a higher power, it’s all here. While much (but not all) of the content will be familiar to regular readers of Becoming Minimalist, organizing it in this way provides a good reference for self-improvement, or at least self-examination. If you’re overwhelmed by all the improving you’d like to see in yourself, just try to start working inside first. Or decide to try out one idea that sounds easily attainable, like volunteering or donating some money to a worthy cause. See what happens.
As an extra challenge, consider examining the questions that come up in your mind as you read the book. Haven’t donated for a while?–Why? How is volunteering supposedly rewarding? If you’re like me, you may discover you have a lot of work ahead of you to be the well-adjusted, happy person you want to be. While none of us are perfect, living with intentionality for the first time is a huge step towards feeling fulfillment on a daily basis.
The book aims to inspire and challenge the reader. Certainly I was challenged–slightly horrified, even, while finding myself questioning whether a huge life change I’ve spent the last year preparing for (and am about to make) wasn’t the wrong thing–whether the source of my unhappiness wasn’t quite what I thought it was. Guess you could say I wasn’t really prepared for the scope of this book.
But now that I’ve gotten gotten a toehold on the material possessions weighing me down, and my schedule for the next couple of years is pretty focused, it seems that this is the next frontier: using this list as a guide to try and achieve happiness.
Working from the inside, out.