Our obsession with stuff has become unhealthy. When we have a emptiness in our lives, we buy things. When we have problems, we buy things. And these things are becoming more and more expensive, bigger, and shinier. I know many times I go for what we call “retail therapy”. Go online and easily spend $200- $300 on clothes or accessories. I will probably use these items 3-4 times!!
This obsession with stuff leads to owning a lot, having a lot of clutter … and yet this stuff doesn't fill our lives with meaning. I know, I know, people that know me, are probably thinking, is this the same person we know? My closets are filled with designer bags, scarfs, and jewelry. I used to buy a handbag every 3-4 months and honestly it made me feel great, but I still need another soon after.
Now days a simple cup of coffee, sitting with my friends, and having meaningful conversation is what’s on the shopping list! No more sitting at a posh bars/ restaurants spending $100’s on food and drinks and having mediocre conversations. Of course ever now and then having a romantic date night with hubby at our favorite place in NYC is great but not a must.
We buy things when we’re depressed, we buy things for others to show how much we love them … and in this way, stuff has separated us from actually dealing with our emotions, blocked us from truly connecting with others.
Let’s replace that lust for stuff with a lust for life.
Here are some ideas that worked for me:
- Rediscover a passion for life. Get outside and feel nature, appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Get active, do some gardening or yard work, play a sport, go for a walk, take a hike, go for a swim, ride a bike. Feel the life coursing through you. Breathe it in.
- Give experiences as gifts, not stuff. Instead of shopping for someone come birthdays or Christmas, think of an experience you can give them instead. An experience is much more meaningful than an object. I like making cards, spa items, and baking. Some people may think it’s cheap, but the way I look at it, I took that time and effort to make this for them. I didn't throw money at the situation and call it a day! And if you have those people in your life that value material more than your love and effort, you don’t need them in your life!!
- Connect with others. In real life. If you haven’t hung out with a friend recently, give him a call and go hang out. Get your kid away from the TV or video game player and take her outside to do something. Go on a date with your partner. Visit your mom or grandparents. And be present while you’re with them — really listen, really be there.
- Deal with your emotions. If you have a need to buy things, to shop when you are having emotional issues, be more aware of this. Then deal with the underlying emotions, rather than using shopping as a way to forget about them.
- Disconnect your attachment to stuff. Sometimes I find myself reluctant to give something up, even if I don’t really use it. And that’s when I ask myself, “Why?” What is holding me back from getting rid of this possession?
- Realize that life, not stuff, is what matters. Objects are just objects — if you lose them, if they get stolen or destroyed … it’s not a big deal. They’re just objects — not your life.
I am not saying I stopped splurging on things, I still do, but not when I am upset or depress, me buys things that I need is different than buying things to make me happy or to forget my issues.
Your life is the series of moments that is steaming through your consciousness right now, and how you use those moments and what you fill them with is what truly matters, not what you fill your home with. At the end of this short journey, you’ll look back and remember your experiences, the people you loved and who loved you back, the things you did and didn't do. Not the stuff you had.