You are not your stuff

 If I asked you to describe yourself what would you say? Are you kind, funny, clever, adventurous?

You’re probably a whole mix of different things and I wouldn’t be able to guess which of these traits you would ascribe to yourself without knowing you.

However, I bet I can guess what you’re not: you’re not your clothes, your books, your DVDs, your knick-knacks, or any of the other stuff that you own.

We are not our stuff, we are not what we own, but it holds an inordinate amount of power over us.

Looking back just 18 months ago I genuinely believed the things I owned were a better marker for who I was as a person than the things I did or said. If I’m honest I thought that owning more made me a better person.

Of course, if you’d asked me back then whether I thought that I would have denied it. At the time I didn’t realise how out of control my feelings towards my stuff had become; I was ‘collecting’ things because it made me interesting, I was buying clothes because they made me pretty, I bought a bigger house because it made me successful.

I thought having stuff made me happy but it didn’t, it made me miserable and it certainly didn’t make me more interesting, prettier or more successful.

Getting rid of all this stuff hasn’t made me more interesting, prettier or more successful either but I am slowly learning a bit more about who I am. Without the distraction of shopping, without the unrelenting upkeep of stuff, without the coveting, without the time and energy spent on consuming I have a bit more time to stand back from my life and think about what I want to achieve.

As it stands I don’t have a definitive list of targets for things I want to do with all this new found time and energy, not to mention the money I’ve saved by halting the consumerism, but I feel I have space to breathe and think more clearly.

I’ve finally realised that I am not my stuff, I am so much more without it.


PS The picture is of just some of stuff before we moved house. We’re slowly getting rid of it!

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