Think about your possessions. How do you know when you have enough? When you walk into a store do you consciously choose to purchase something or is it more of a reﬂex?
Are you seeking to replace an item or to acquire more? Be honest here. What does the purchase really represent? What need are you truly trying to ﬁll?
Seriously. How do you deﬁne enough?
This topic has been much on my mind lately since I recently put most of my belongings on a moving van. I was amazed at how much stuff went out the door and up the ramp. Even after donating, using Craigslist, trashing, giving away, and recycling so much already.
What I discovered as I was paring down was that I had 5 pairs of black pants, 4 navy blue, and 6 khaki. And who’s counting the number of shoes?
I mean, really. I had enough clothing to last me ’til I die.
And that’s only the clothing. Too much furniture, pictures, dishes, and on and on. And still the moving van was ﬁlled, even after an aggressive paring down.
Why do we do this to ourselves? What needs was I trying to satisfy by adding more and more? What was I truly craving?
I attribute many of my acquisitions to mindlessness, a “Like it? Yes! Buy it? Oh, yes!” mentality. No forethought. Just instant gratification.
I have also learned that acquiring is a way to satisfy my need for love and attention. Or a way to make me “feel better” when life gets to be too much or I’m feeling sorry for myself. Buying makes me temporarily perceive that I’m special, worthy, taken care of. Little treats, just for me.
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t treat ourselves or do things to make us feel special. But, over time, the stuff accumulates. And I still have cravings for what I perceive I am lacking, even after I spend money. Nothing really changes except the amount of stuff.
So, how am I learning to combat the urge to splurge? Before I pull out my wallet or swipe my credit card, I ask myself “Why?”
Why do I want to buy this?
Why must I have it?
Often the answer is that I want it but don’t need it. If it’s more want than need, I ask myself, “What’s going on here?” What need is disguising itself? What am I truly seeking and trying to fulfill by using my credit card?
This self-reflection helps me discern the motivation behind my actions. Oh, and did I mention the impact this has had on my monthly credit card statement?
So, what lessons are here for us?
- We can have richer, more meaningful lives by making conscious choices—knowing why we are opting for a particular action, and how it will add to our lives.
- We can reduce the clutter in our lives by purposefully selecting what we add into it.
- We can truly be happy with enough, and no more.
Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens.
If you have them, you have to take care of them!
There is great freedom in simplicity of living.
It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.
Your Call to Action:
This week, whenever you make a purchase, ask yourself, “Why?” Why this? Why now? Ask if what you are about to purchase is something your want or something you need. Keep a tally of your answers. What have you discovered about yourself?