What’s going on when we have the urge to buy things, or have difficulty letting go of our stuff?
We’re holding onto a story about these purchases or possessions.
These stories are what we tell ourselves about the things we want to buy or already have. They might be about how good our lives will be if we have these things, or how these things make us safe or happy or cool or sexy or manly or beautiful.
We like these stories because they might give us hope for a better life, or safety from fear. They serve a purpose â€” except that they also limit us.
Let’s look at a few of these stories:
- I deserve this because I work hard.
- I will be cooler or more beautiful if I get this.
- People will think Iâ€™m hot or manly or hip if I wear this.
- This will make my life better.
- I need this.
- I should buy this while itâ€™s on sale.
- This thing is sexy.
- Iâ€™ll just buy this one last thing.
- I can’t get rid of it because it cost a lot.
- I can’t get rid of it because my mom gave it to me as a gift.
- I shouldn’t toss it out because I might need it someday.
None of these stories are true. We want them to be true, so we hold onto them tightly, we attach to them, we identify with them, and we donâ€™t want to let them go. We want so desperately to believe in them. But they are not true. Theyâ€™re just stories.
And they harm us. We spend our hard-earned money because of these stories, which in actuality represents the limited life energy that we spent earning that money. We keep our clutter because of the stories, and this means more mental distraction and stress, more maintenance and storage of possessions, and more. These stories rob us of life.
When youâ€™re about to buy something that isnâ€™t a basic necessity, then ask yourself what story youâ€™re telling yourself. It takes some practice, but with time you can start to understand what these stories are. And with time, you can learn to see that theyâ€™re false, and to let go of them.
Once you let go of these stories, youâ€™re free.