I have a lot of “Stuff.” For example, there are at least 35 paintings hanging in my home–6 purchased and the remainder painted by me. And, you wouldn’t believe my closet; I own enough clothing for a small army. Probably close to a dozen watches. OMG. And then the garage…that is packed full. In addition I have a storage bin just outside my garage to house more “stuff”.
Don’t laugh. You are, most likely, floating a very similar boat. We have “garage sales.” Shoot I wish I could sell my garage, but then where would I keep all the rest of the stuff I don’t need? We have stuff we will never use again, but we keep it just in case we might need it. Sure!
We have learned to be expert collectors without even realizing it. We buy things we think we need only to store them away within weeks or days after purchasing them. Sometimes we don’t even use them after we buy them. Huh?
Derek Sivers, a successful entrepreneur, rents a small fully furnished apartment with a few clothes and a laptop. He moves every two years—because “he can!” For you and me, moving requires a band of friends with trucks or a moving company with massive big rigs. Ouch.
Maslow and You
So I ask: Which owns more of you: your stuff or your deeply evolving “self?”
Like it or not, the real answer is… Your Self. Yes, even if you love stuff, it is your Self that owns and controls you. It is your Self that drives you to collect Stuff. That is, your unfulfilled Self is driving you to collect stuff as a means to filling that hole in your soul.
If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy it is quite easy to observe that Stuff is a bastardized addition to Level One of Five. The highest level is Self-Actualization, which cannot be impacted in the slightest by the collection of stuff. Self-Actualization is more about truly owning (realizing) Who, What, Why, and Where you are in life.
It’s about appreciating and loving your Self. It’s about fully accepting and loving other people and their ever-evolving selves (whether they are in agreement with you or not). A great sign that you are getting closer to a pliant, yet firm, Self is when you are completely comfortable “alone in your own company”—no books or TV or music (absolutely No Stuff) or any other distractions. Alone with just you and your thoughts.
I love the words of Susan Somebody (???): “We long for immortality, yet have no idea what to do with ourselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”
Yes. You can take control. You CAN determine which is more control of your soul: Your Stuff or your Self. Here are some suggestions:
When collecting Stuff, ask first:
- Will I still be using or appreciating this one year from today?
- Do I already own something very similar, making this purchase redundant?
- Am I buying this because I actually NEED the thing or because I am attempting to fill a hole or neediness in my soul?
Instead, participate in your own Self Enlightenment:
- Love and appreciate yourself.
- Love and appreciate others.
- Resign yourself to the care and assistance of some Power greater than yourself. For me that is God.
- Attempt to live in a state of “acceptance.” Things are what they are and there is a lot that you cannot change, and a lot you can—know the difference.
Only You Own You
Take Back the Controls
Do So and Be Totally YOU
Photo courtesy of gerenme at istockphoto