Yes, we are living in a material world and I am a material girl. Too material that, sometimes, we may get ourselves in trouble.
A dear friend told me once not to be too materially-attached. I never fully understood this until recently.
Here are some of the points to ponder, thanks to Scott H Young:
- You aren’t the things you own. The problem is that you view things as possessions in the first place. Ownership is just a societal construct to keep order, it doesn’t have any deeper meaning. Separate your identity from the things you own.
- Relationships are about doing, not having. You can’t have a girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse. Although those terms are fairly commonplace, they demonstrate that many people still view relationships as possessions. The more you see relationships as possessions, the less intrinsic value you can get from experiencing them.
- Trash it. I’m the opposite of a packrat. When I need to do a major cleaning, I usually toss just about everything I haven’t used recently. Getting rid of old possessions can be a liberating experience, stripping away from you what isn’t important.
- Build intangible assets. Habits, time-management, discipline, emotional control, understanding and learning are just a few of the non-physical assets you can hold. Building intangible assets replaces your need for physical ones.
- Go basic. Simplify all your material possessions so they don’t consume your mental resources. Simple, even if less glamorous, requires less maintenance, offers fewer distractions and uses less thinking. A simple lifestyle affords you the ability to focus your energies on your inner world.
- Avoid the status game. Seek friends from all social layers. Don’t buy into the game that decides a persons worth based on their money or profession. I know people I would consider smarter and more enlightened who live on a fraction of the income that others do. Keeping pockets of connections within all levels separates you from the competitive aspects materialism brings.
- Judge yourself by your ethics and your understanding. I’d be far happier with myself if I were poor but I understood the world and lived true to a system of ethics, than if I had the opposite. Don’t base your self worth on how much you’ve achieved or the admiration of your peers.
- You can’t take it with you. What is going to matter to you on your deathbed? Looking back at your entire life, what was important? Use that to prioritize.
Two years ago, my lifestyle was simple. Simple in a shopaholic kind of way. For example, whenever there’s a sale, 90% of the time, I’m sure I’m going to be there. I hoard a lot of things. Things that I don’t really need. I memorize all the sales in the world. My weekend calendar is filled with sale alerts. I buy things impulsively and, sometimes, unnecessarily in excess.
Apart from this, I’m never the type who loses things randomly. I have a very sharp memory and I know where I put things. With this, I have developed a separation anxiety with my material things every time I have to let go any of them. And so, you can say I am a certified hoarder.
Over the past year, I think I have done a lot of growing up and realizations. I started imposing myself a makeup ban–to which I can not buy makeup impulsively but only when it’s needed/I’m out of it. I have learned to move on from the loss of some of my favorite things–like when I sold my car. I have learned to let go some of the things that I don’t use by giving it to my sister or househelpers.
I guess, I have lost a lot of material things but gained a lot of learnings. But you know what they say, when things go wrong, you can always charge it to experience. 🙂