Relieving Pressure From Stuff

Every object we buy or acquire increases the pressure in our lives. Even objects we cherish add to the pressure on us.

Manufacturers and retailers tell us that we must buy their products to be happy, beautiful, healthy, smart, “with it,” or a host of other promises. We are told we must shop because the economy depends upon us.

We shop to keep up with peers, be like others, and feel that we fit in.

We are trained to want. We don’t know who we are if we do not want. We believe our things represent us, reflect our identity.

So we shop because we want the qualities sellers promise, we want to be good citizens, and we want… Want… WANT.

But the more we want, the more empty and unsatisfied we feel, and the more we have a “hole in the heart.” Feeling empty scares and distresses us, so we buy more to cover up this emptiness, this wanting.

But the more we buy, the more our things fail to satisfy that wanting. The more things fail to satisfy us, the more desperate we become. Our desperation makes us buy even more, thinking that we will eventually find “the” thing that makes us finally, lastingly happy.

So our houses overflow and we have more “stuff” than we could ever deal with. We keep shopping even when a host of troubles result and our actions feel out of control and scary.

But every object we own increases the pressure we live under. And the more pressure we live under, the more stress and pain we feel.

Stress from our things makes us sick. Pressure to earn more money to get more things, to have a bigger space to fit in more things, or to move because we can’t afford that bigger space stresses us and makes us sick.

Because every object we own demands or requires that we …

Every task in service to our things increases the pressure and stress we feel.

We can skip some tasks of owning things, but each skipped task has consequences. The more tasks we skip, and the more objects we skip them for, the more consequences we have to live with.

New projects, especially voluntary ones, have similar requirements to objects: the more projects we take on, the more we must work in service to them. Crafts, tinkering, some remodels, even some puzzles and games, among many activities, all increase mess and pressure.

When we spend money for things we do not use or cannot take care of, many negative feelings result:

We expect new things to make us feel better, but except for items we truly need and use a lot, they often make us feel worse, especially when we already own many things we do not use.

Our things are supposed to serve us, but in reality, we serve them. We are the servants of our things.

We are not free. We are owned and dominated by our things.

Nearly every decision we make is dictated by our things.

The more that we own, the less free we are.

None of this is rational, healthy, makes us happy, or is inevitable.

We can become free by challenging our thoughts and emotions about our things, by refusing to believe what others tell us about things or that we have a duty to consume or shop.

To be free, we must clear out beliefs that persuade us that we need things we do not use.

We need to remove any feeling that we will somehow be less or deprived without any particular item or even all of them.

Changing these beliefs and feelings is how we become free, in control, and in charge of our lives, and reduce the pressure on us from things.

Clearing stuff out is secondary to clearing out negative thoughts and emotions that make us believe we should have more stuff than we really use. But we do need to do both.

The more we hang onto things from the past, the more difficult we make living in and coping with the present. We cannot change or honor the past or people from our past by hanging onto things. Only the present and future can be changed.

Pressure from our belongings may not be the only source of pressure in our lives, but reducing any form of pressure eases the overall burden we bear. We may not be able to control pressure from other people but from our things we can. We maybe can’t tell our boss or family to get lost but we can discard any object that demands more energy than it gives us.


Can’t watch this too often: George Carlin’s brilliant routine on “Stuff”:


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© Gloria Valoris, 2015

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