“How pointless life could be, what a foolish business of inventing things to love, just so you could dread losing them.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver
In this highly competitive world, we are constantly being judged based on the amount of possessions and belongings we have, people trying to label you, calculating your total worth based on the quantity and price tag of your material belongings.
From the moment we open our eyes, we are bombarded with information on TV, hoardings on the street, newspapers flooded with majestic advertisements and mediocre content, manipulating our choices, so that you can lead a better life, and ‘buy’ happiness.
People fall into this trap and begin to lead a life of collecting more until they have no place to keep or it goes out of fashion, and then they decide to get rid of it, so they can make place to buy some more. We get so emotionally worked up that it might get damaged because we’ve spent so much money and time to purchase it. In this madness of collecting, consuming, buying, we don’t realise how attached we’ve become to our possessions that when it’s time to let go, we cling to it for our dear life.
Will this all-absorbing cycle of materialism ever end?
This article is intended to help you let go without clinging to things that ultimately, don’t matter. When you introspect or journey deep within your self, you may realise the uselessness of it all. I am not saying that you must donate all your belongings to a charity, but don’t let it control you.
Here are five ways to gain freedom from your possessions and break the cycle of more, more and more.
1) Realise you are not your possessions
Counting your worth based on how much you own is like a horse with blinkers who can only see in one direction and can’t look beyond a certain point. Personally, I have seen people who have so “much”, but deep down they are empty and it’s eating them up.
The only way to fill that void, that emptiness, is by collecting things, and the only way they find a release is by taking care of “things” that don’t matter. Research suggests that materialistic people are less happier than others and are less satisfied with life.
2) Declutter your physical space
Research has shown when your home or work environment is cluttered, it restricts your ability to focus, limits your brain’s ability to process information and makes you distracted. Removing clutter from your surroundings will not only make you more productive but also less irritable and will boost your ability to process information as effectively as possible.
Start with clothes for example, get rid of the ones you are never going to wear again. Move on to the next shelf, don’t think so hard, if you haven’t used it for so long, what are the chances you will use it again?
Understand the positive effect it will have on your mind. You will begin to experience a sense of lightheartedness and freedom as you declutter the layers of obstruction.
3) Think twice if you really need that thing
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.” ~ Will Rogers
Have you fallen for the advertisement that keeps flashing all around you and it has managed to catch your attention? The next moment you find yourself purchasing that very thing. Calm down, take a step back and think if you really need that in your life, or is it based on an emotional response to an advertisement. If its the second option then you might want to reconsider your decision and make a wise choice.
4) Be grateful for what you have
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie
Our mind is constantly pre-occupied with thoughts of things we don’t have, or we should have bought, and experiences we are missing out on.
Instead of focusing your energy on “If I had this I would have done that”, take a moment and be grateful for the things you do have, and you will realise how fortunate you actually are.
When we start taking things for granted we deviate from the present moment and stop enjoying the simple things in life, which leads to the last point in this article.
5) Happiness lies in simplicity
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault
As they say, the best things in life are free and taking a pause and focusing on the small things around you will make you happier. For instance, a child is happy with the most simplest of things he spots, like a caterpillar chomping the leaf or a ladybug resting on the ground, will captivate him.
He doesn’t need expensive toys to feel happy, but its the parents who feel the need to purchase such toys. In fact too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their creativity and imagination.
The simple and small pleasures of life are more gratifying than one expensive phone for instance. When you break the cycle of mindless consumption, you will learn to appreciate what you have and feel satisfied in life, at least make an attempt!