Why does our Stuff define us!

Free stuff

The last couple of days have been really interesting, we started donating our stuff – mainly to homeless shelters.

The thing is as a mom of a big family, I never looked at us as having a lot of stuff.  The kids only got one of two toys on their birthdays or Christmas, the occasional toy just because and if they really wanted a toy, they would have to save up and buy it themselves.  As for clothes, we just bought those as needed or they got their brothers or sisters clothes.

This, in my mind just got us by – BUT – as we started going through things I saw just how much stuff they have, we all have.  I was always wondering why our laundry was always full even after days and days of washing – Now I know! We have 5 full rubbish bags of clothes and I haven’t even washed the 4 baskets of dirty clothes in the laundry yet.  They are allowed enough clothes that fit in a back pack but that is it – which equates to about 2 pairs of clothes and 1 pair of pajamas.  Then there is the toys, SO MANY TOYS! Not only have we got their toys from inside, we have garbage bags of toys that we had put aside a few years ago.  Giving them away is the best thing to do.

As we were packing up all the stuff, it was great to see how excited the kids were to be able to give something to people who had a lot less than them.  I was really proud to see how they handled it.  I too got excited and started looking around at what else I could give away. Then it hit me – If I give away all our stuff, who will I be?

This was a surprisingly big question for me. In the Western World, we are brought up with the notion that we need Stuff to make us who we are – we Need that huge flat screen TV, we Need the latest sports car, iPhone or tablet.  We NEED a big house – no – we need a HUGE house, one which is far too big for us but with which we can advertise our wealth and prosperity. We MUST have these things because people will judge us if we don’t.  Advertising tells us we need the best hair, clothes and job but still be the best parent, citizen and be able to everything ourselves.  According to the advertisers, I don’t have or am not good enough without these things – so if we get of all our stuff – Who Am I then? Why Does My Stuff Define How I Feel About Myself?

This I had an epiphany – My stuff didn’t define who I was to myself, it defined that my stuff defined who I was to other people, that having STUFF would make people more accepting of me.  In Psychology this is called Impression Management (In sociology and social psychology, impression management is a goal-directed conscious or subconscious process in which people attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event; they do so by regulating and controlling information in social interaction (Piwinger & Ebert 2001, pp. 1–2)). If we had a massive house, a Ferrari and threw money around like rain, then others would define us a rich.  It wouldn’t matter on whether these ‘riches’ were acquired by a STUPID amount of debt, it is what others see.

We don’t show or have a lot of money, actually in my eyes, I always saw us as pretty poor but in going through our stuff, I actually saw how much we have.  We have so much and I never saw it before purely because I was defining myself the way Western advertising culture was defining me.Who we are

This realization was very freeing to me and actually it just made me want to give it all away.  I don’t need it – others do so why not give of myself for their sake and not worry about what others think.  As we travel around the world, we are not able to take the stuff with us and why pay for storage when others can benefit from our unnecessary possessions. Freeing ourselves from the bondage of our stuff, we are free to do whatever we want with our lives, there is nothing holding us back.

Hubby is a little different in this – he has been a tradesman for so long now that his tools are part of who he is. He is not ready to give away or even sell his tools.  All his mechanical, carpentry, plumbing, flooring and electrical tools (yes he can do it all), which he has spent Thousands of dollars on over the years.  If he didn’t have those anymore then Who Is He? Is a tradesman without his tools still a tradesman? Except for recent years, he has been on the work-site since he was 6 years old, he hasn’t known anything else.  For me to ask him to give them up – I just can’t do, he has to come to this realization by himself, this is only his decision.  If he can’t give them up and wants to put them in storage, then so be it, I cannot push him to do this.  I know he will find himself out there in the big wide world but at the moment, this is who he is.  If he give them away or even sell them – I would be so proud of him but it has to be all him.

This is a new and exciting part of our adventure, the road to discovering WHO WE REALLY ARE!

We haven’t got our 2 year old to get his passport photo yet but it will happen in the next 2 weeks. I’ll sing when we do.

30 Day Challenge – Just a small challenge, I would love to know how you can change your life in the next 30 days.  You are an incredible person and are able to do anything you want, the only thing stopping you is – YOU! I give you 30 days to do something amazing that will change your life for the better – to become an even Awesomer you.  Think of something you have always wanted to do (I know something has popped into your mind), write it down – with purpose (eg – Dear Universe, I expect to do (insert what you want to do here) and I expect to see/have this in 30 days. This will change my life. Thank you), fold it up and carry it with you, knowing all the time that this WILL happen.  Watch you life changes.  You are all amazing people and you deserve everything you desire and please let me know how you go.

Enjoy and go out and have THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE!

Shalom Aleichem