I stumbled upon minimalism quite by accident. I was working at a movie studio in Los Angeles, surrounded by over-the-top luxury. No matter what you owned, it was never enough and there was always someone with a newer this or a more expensive that.
In order to afford this type of lifestyle, I worked 12-hour days and had very little life outside my job. Even then, I was told in my annual review that I didn't start working early enough. As I said, never enough. I quit my job the next week.
Once I left in pursuit of more meaning in my life, the pendulum swung the other way and I ended up in a spiritual community studying consciousness. There I was, fresh out of the world of excess, now living on a $200 a month stipend, going through "stuff" withdrawals.
I was told over and over that I was not my body, my mind, or my emotions. In other words, I shouldn't let my monkey mind run me, my aches or pains define me, or my feelings stop me. Because when we do, we usually make questionable choices like trying to shop our way into feeling better.
Over time, I got better at separating how I felt from who I was. "I'm angry," became, "I feel angry." "I'm sick," turned into, "I have an ache in my body." As my awareness increased, my shopping decreased. I was becoming a minimalist.