“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” ― Bertrand Russell
I bet you right now that you have a lot of things in your room/appartement/house that you don’t need and/or ever use. Things that you’ve saved because “you might need it one day” or “it’s nice to have around”. We have so much clothes that we don’t or rarely use. Things we’ve collected that are just laying around. We might have 5 chargers for the same thing, 10 different kinds of deodorant and so on.
Before the last time I moved, I got very inspired by some videos I watched on Yourtube about minimalism. It’s different from person to person how they define minimalism. Some move to a tiny house in the woods, living only with what’s absolutely necessary to survive, some limit themselves to owning no more than a hundred things, and some just keep a clean house with less stuff and just the essentials. For me, as a start, I wanted to go through my room and see how much stuff I had that I actually didn’t need or that I rarely used. I thought to myself that this was going to be fairly easy and fast because I already didn’t believe that I had much stuff. Well, about an hour later I had ended up getting rid of a closet, over half of my clothes, a night table and a box full of small random things I didn’t use. I remember struggling with some of the things like “should I keep it or not?” But now I can’t even remember what those things were. I was feeling so attached to them, but once I let it go, it was totally liberating!
This process taught me a lot. It made me realize how little I actually needed. Also it made me realize the crazy impact that things can have on us. How strongly attached we actually are to these material objects. But also it made me realize that it was not just the object that I was so attached to. It was my thoughts about that abject. It was how it made me feel. It was not the object itself I was attached to, but rather some kind of fantasi about it. It made me realize that our mind distracts us from seeing things for what they really are, which are just things. We want to give it more value than it has. This is why we should not rely on material things for happiness because once that fantasy is broken, then it makes us frustrated and unhappy. And the thing is, often when this happens we tend to look for happiness in the same things that made us unhappy. So maybe we go buy a new jacket that makes us feel happy again. But only until that high we get from buying something new fades away and our fantasi about the jacket is broken because we suddenly spot another cooler jacket that we want. It’s a never ending cycle and it’s very important to be aware of.
Many of todays role models that people look up to are rich in money and have a lot of material possessions. We look to them as some kind of heroes “that made it” and we often view them as smart people. A lot of people look at these role models and think that they would have a better life if they had those things as well.
“Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t even like”
Constantly we’re exposed to things that someone wants us to buy. It doesn’t matter where we live, we’re all exposed to commercials everyday. Billboard signs, store windows, mail, TV, radio, cars, the internet. It’s everywhere.
The society we live in have us thinking that we’re defined by the things we own. What car we drive, how our house look like, how we dress and usually the more expensive it is, the higher status you get. We work so hard to get these things and if we cannot afford them, we take a loan or use installment payment. People take loans to pay for phones, jackets, kitchen equipment, sofas and toys for their kids. Nothing was wrong with the old phone or jacket, they just wanted a new one. I often hear someone say “I just couldn’t resist” or “ I just had to have it”.
It seems like we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that these objects define us. We try to express who we are through things rather than our actions and personality. Some people even believe that these things ARE part of their personality.
We assume that these things shows how much we’re worth and our ego is constantly searching for more and more things to add to it.
We often buy things, not because of its purpose, but because we want to impress people. We want to look a certain way. We want to show who we are.
Many people already know what they’re going to spend their salary on long before they get it. We work so hard and spend so much time at our job to be able to afford the things we want (or think we want) and when we finally get it, then we start upgrading it. We switch a car out with another car, a couch with another couch, jacket with another jacket and so on. Is this really what you want to work for? Is it really worth it? Not many people love their job, so why spend so much time there just to be able to afford things you don’t need, or you just think you need because they make you look or feel a certain way? Think about how you could’ve spend that time or money instead.
Here are some good rules of thumb that I find useful.
1. If it has a comercial you don’t need it.
2. If you didn’t know you wanted it before seeing it, don’t buy it. (It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it).
3. Ask yourself “would I work x amount of hours to get that object right now?
4. “Do I already have one that serves the same purpose?”
“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”
We feel so attached to the things we own and it’s changing the way we live. It’s no wonder that the depression and stress rates are higher than ever, because we always have to keep up with what society tells us to be like and what we should own to be happy.
The good news is that it’s something we’ve been taught, and that means that it can be untaught. We have to wake up and see what’s really going on and take back control of our lives. In words that everybody can understand, we have to see through all the bullshit.
We have been taught that happiness is obtained when we get or buy something. That we have to add something to this moment, instead of just enjoying it as it is. That we have to buy our way to happiness. “Buy this and you’ll become happy.” But of course this is wrong. Happiness is not something that comes from the outside and goes in. It comes from within you and goes out. Happy is something you are and not something you become.
“How pointless life could be, what a foolish business of inventing things to love, just so you could dread losing them.”
The more you attach to things, the more it’ll limit you. Make sure that you own things and not that things own you. They should be of service to you, but not control you. Every time you’re craving an object it’s owning you. Owning your time, your energy and mood.
Also be aware of the attachment and story that you give the objects. “My grandmother gave me this tablecloth. It has emotional value. I could never get rid of that.” Even though it looks like a big game of twister for mice.
We don’t really attach to the object, but some fantasy about it. The object is still as it were before you got it. A chair is just a chair. What you like is the idea of the chair, what you think it gives you. Maybe it’s just the satisfaction of owning it because of it’s money value.
Our minds distracts us from seeing things as they really are. We want to give things more value than they really have.
Detach your emotions from material things. You should not cry about loosing something or get absolutely outrageous and act as if your entire life ended because your phones battery dies.
Remove the emotional value that you give to things and you’ll have more time and energy for things that really matters. Complete yourself from the inside and don’t look for it on the outside. Chase experiences. Something for yourself and not others. Focus on the free things. Not everything that comes your way was meant to stay. It’s here to alter change and not for you to hold on to. There’s no life in attachment. You don’t need any thing to be complete.
Cut the strings that you’ve attached to the objects and you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Less things means less clutter, less decisions, less worries and more time, energy and money.
Instead of thinking about who you could be with all of these material things, then think about who you could be without it. Who are you really?
Thank you so much for reading.
Feel free to like and share if you enjoyed it, and please let me know what you think and if I can improve anything.
Make a great day