Why is it that we cling so tightly to material things?
Why do we grasp so firmly onto things that do not matter?
I think I am talking to everyone with this one… and I don’t mean to come off as offensive in any way, shape, or form. I am speaking to myself as much as I am speaking to you. But as a quick reality check, if you feel as though I am talking to you, if you feel offended, if you see yourself in the words of this post, if you are in denial… Then I am most definitely talking to you and you most definitely need to think about this.
So, here it goes…
We all have our demons. We all have the things we run to when we don’t want to deal with the realities of life. From drugs to alcohol to shopping to music to food to hoarding… These are all actions that come from a lack of something else, there is always an effect in mind that allows our mind to justify giving in to these demons. Some people are “lucky” enough to have healthy outlets for those feelings: running, cleaning, boxing, working. Although, I think long term those can be considered as demons as well because they serve the same purpose of avoiding reality, in the present moment.
I heard a talk with Tony Robbins recently in which he suggests that when we begin ASKING the right type of QUESTIONS to ourselves, others, the universe, we will begin to see a shift in our lives. Our thoughts are just a series of questions and answers that we entertain inside of our heads. Whether they are positive or negative types of questions and answers- that dialogue shapes us in many ways. It is amazing, though, because when we ask questions to the universe, when we speak them into existence, the answers appear. Ask and you shall receive. Sound familiar? Speak something into the universe and the universe will respond.
Here is a very basic, but completely real example of this that happened to me yesterday. I had not been able to find my glasses for days (which happens every few weeks because I’m one of the most forgetful people you will ever meet.) I finally just asked aloud “Where are my glasses?” I asked the universe in hopes that I would receive an answer. Wouldn’t ya know… I found my glasses today in my old bedroom at my mom’s house under a pile of clothes that she had washed for me earlier in the week. (She truly is a saint for still WANTING to wash my clothes regardless of how many times I tell her that I am fully capable of doing it myself.) I don’t know who would have put my glasses in that spot, but I still ended up finding them……Fascinating.
So, on that note… let me put this in the form of a question for you all-
Why does our society as a whole put such a high value on materialistic things? Why do we consistently long for the best, newest, most expensive whatever?
I’m truly curious about this, because even before I was a crunchy minimalist tiny house owner, I never had that longing. Trust me, I had plenty of shit I did not need or even want. I still do.
Clothes I never wear
Kitchen appliances/utensils I never use
Shoes that are not comfortable
Technology I have no need for
But that doesn’t stop me from wondering why… Why does it seem that putting a dollar amount on something gives it value? WHY DO WE BUY SO MANY THINGS???!
Jesus, let me just get to the point here. I am baffled. I really am. Why do we as a society buy so many things that are not necessary to our lives, that do not increase our well-being, that do not make us happy, that do not even really matter at all…. Things that do not serve us, benefit us, help us grow or progress. Why do we buy things that sometimes makes us LESS happy….? What void are we trying to fill? What is missing in our lives that causes us to feel the need to replace it with store bought items? So many questions, and so few answers it seems.
When I jumped into this minimalist, simplistic, organic lifestyle, I did not foresee all of the amazing benefits that would come with it. The absense of the desire for superfluous “things” was one of them. Of course, I had to get rid of a lot of things when I moved into the tiny house. I had to pick and choose what would come into this small space. If it wasn’t “meaningful, important, or useful” it had to go.
Meaningful: Inspires nostalgia, captures a moment,creates beautiful memories- You may not absolutely need it, but it has a truly deep meaning to you. (Ex. Photographs, cards)
Important: You absolutely need it. Simple enough. (Ex. Food, water, clothing)
Useful: Especially things with multiple uses- You may not absolutely need it to survive, but it significantly increases your happiness level and makes your life easier. (Ex. Corkscrew, Wi-Fi)
Even more than that though, I had to now be proactive. I had to consider this BEFORE I even thought about buying something. I started to really analyze my reasoning behind buying things. I realized quickly that a majority of the time I did not have a real reason. I did not have a true need or even want for what I was about to buy. I was in it for the instant gratification or maybe I felt pressured to have something. And do not sit there and act like you’ve never noticed yourself doing this. (If you are really not acting and you have not noticed this, then you need to analyze your reasons behind buying everything you buy in the next few days. Then revisit this. You’ll be back.)
You know what else though? That void that I was always trying to fill with shit I didn’t need? That emptiness we try to cover up with new clothes, phone upgrades, and fancy jewelry? Yes, I said we… That space was no longer in need of filling. Because… I learned how to be happy.
I invested time and energy into MYSELF for the first time ever. I looked within myself for the answers. I tried to actually figure out what was missing instead of just trying to mask it… Like a doctor who just prescribes medication to hide the symptoms but never cures the actual problem… That is exactly what this is. That is what you do to yourself if you don’t take a step back and think, analyze, explore within.
Nothing that you can buy from a store compares to the satisfaction of being genuinely happy with your life. No tangible item can replace the feeling of
- Laughing with a friend over coffee
- Waking up next to the love of your life
- Watching the sunset on the top of a mountain
- Going skinny dipping in the ocean at night
- Belting out Alicia Keys with the windows down
- Adrenaline pumping during a championship game
- Meditating peacefully
Are you happy with your life? If you removed the superfluous items in your life, the distractions, the unnecessaries, would you still feel satisfied with what you have left? Because for me, what I have is not about what is in my closet. It is about how I feel when I lay down at the end of the day, in the dark, with nothing but my thoughts. It is about bliss.