We gather and own many possessions in life and I wonder, do the things we own actually own us?
During the Industrial Revolution, more jobs were created, more people worked and production was high. The more that was produced over time, along with clever marketing, the more the desire to have more stuff grew as the years passed. As a result, modern day humans own much more than they need to live.
We go through life's phases; moving out of home, getting married or partnered, maybe having children, children grow up and move out and so on. While we go through the phases, we gather more stuff and succumb to the behaviour of not wanting to or being able to let things go, even after the phase has passed. Having children is a great example of this, it brings more stuff than we even knew existed and as they grow we may find ourselves drowning in toys, baby items and memories we can't let go of. As our children turn into adults and have their own families, they end up with our stuff that they hold onto in memory of us but also out of obligation and guilt.
In children, the idea of owning something is modelled by the adults around them from a very early age. They often perceive ownership based on what they can control, and if it's under their control then it's theirs. Hence why children might fight over a sibling taking a toy or having to share something.
As adults we are bombarded with the temptation of millions of items and a better lifestyle on the television and on social media. We want more, constantly compare ourselves to people that seem to have more and it makes us feel good if we have more than everyone else. The pressure is there to own the best of everything, flash it around to other people and enjoy the status it provides, whether we can actually afford it or not. A lot of us are slaves to what we own and work our whole lives to have it and pay for it.
We get a lot of positive and negative feelings out of owning a lot but when we look around are we happy with what we have? Do we feel like we've arrived at the place we imagined we'd be when we finally purchased the thing we thought we needed, or does it just drive us to want more? Perhaps it's time to ask ourselves if we are actually owned by what we have, not the other way around.
Most people that clean out and declutter their homes report that they feel 'lighter' afterwards and there's a good reason for this. It feels good to let go of what's weighing us down and holding us back - and maybe even owning you. A lot of people think that by letting go, selling or giving away their items, they lose money but don't realise that the loss of money actually occurs when we buy the items in the first place.
We all put our memories and identity into our things and it's what makes us human. However, it's always worth considering the hold our things have on us and the importance of taking back some control.