Desire what you own

Last week I saw a quote that said (roughly) ‘desire what you have, not which you do not’ and was attributed to the Roman stoic philosopher Seneca.

This idea really resonated with me, it spoke to my ideal of being satisfied with what I have, with feeling like the items I have are enough and not excessive. (It also made me think about the more modern day idea of ‘shopping your wardrobe’ for things you love! But I digress).

Not being able to remember the quote properly I started a Google search for it and although I still can’t find it (so I’m not sure he actually said it), I came across more of Seneca’s ideas.

I’m not normally one for philosophical or motivational quotes but I think Sencea speaks to many of us who are paring back the items we own, breaking from the consumerist mentality, and filling our lives doing instead of buying.

‘For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them’

Maybe Notorious B.I.G is a Seneca fan as the ‘mo money, mo problems’ mantra is still holding strong. Wealth doesn’t have to just mean money though, it can mean ‘stuff’ and by acquiring more stuff we are giving ourselves a new set of problems; shopping for items, cleaning and insuring them, and taking care of them. Just owning a ‘thing’ isn’t the answer to a problem.

‘It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor’

If we stop wanting more, whether that be a bigger house, more clothes, or the latest gadget, we are rich. This is such a lovely sentiment and one that I should take heed of when I am lusting after new home décor or a pair of boots online. I have all I need and that makes me wealthy.

‘If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor, if according to people’s opinions, you will never be rich’

For years I bought things that I thought would impress other people, or at least make their impression of me more favourable. It was a weight off of my shoulders when I realised that the people who really care about you don’t care about how much you own or the clothes you wear.

Now I don’t judge my life based on the number of things I have, I judge it on whether I am happy, whether I spend enough time with the people I love, and whether I am filling my hours doing things I want to do.

I’ve never been happier.



2 thoughts on “Desire what you own

  1. I am so with you on this one. As I have progressed through my minimalist journey, I have naturally let go of labels. From handbags to shoes and decor to books. I was acquiring those items for the facade they put out to the world. “I’m successful, elegant, chic, and well read”. I already knew those things about myself but for some reason needed to prove if to the world at large. That statement isn’t meant to brag, just that we all achieve some of our goals and it is enough to know it on the inside. I much prefer a well crafted handbag or impeccably sewn vintage suit of unknown origin, purchased on my travels than anything from a commercial chain store.

    Liked by 1 person

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