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Ep20 Use-ism - Use Your Stuff
Hello and Welcome to the Way of the Emotional Warrior Podcast. My name is Kai Ehnes and today we will be answering the question of Do I actually use all my stuff?
This week I watched a show on minimalism. It was interesting to see people talk about their lives and how they earned 6 figure incomes in corporate jobs where their main goal was to climb the ladder in order to earn more money. Why do people do this? Because one of the main mantras of our society is that more money equals more ability to buy things. So, we have to assume that behind this ping pong game of trading time for money is something meaningful right? I mean it would have to be. We get up at crazy early hours, work late giving up other activities and so on… It must mean that the payoff is tremendous.
There is a lot to be said about our obsession with shiny objects. Growing up, it was always made clear to me that more money meant more things so more things equal success. You get a nice used car and instantly see someone else with a newer car or a nicer looking one. When does it ever happen that you actually have the best of something? Is it even possible? It always becomes clear that someone else has a shinier object than you. What to do?
Enter minimalism. In the show, people were scaling down to the point of one case where a guy had all his worldly belongings in 2 bags. I think less is more is a great philosophy. There is something very elegant about streamlining and efficiency.
However, an Emotional Warrior knows to approach things with balance and harmony. Extreme minimalism will of course work for some people. The human condition works according to zeros and ones, called polarity, so the bookends of minimalism are good to know. I have experienced both of these extremes in my own life. From having very little to having to cull excess is a strong dichotomy.
In one of my prior episodes I talked about comparing yourself to others. In doing that research I came across Wallace Wattles and he wrote that part of the human condition is to immerse in the world of the material. That is how we experience and grow. Again, moderation grasshopper…moderation.
So what perspective can I offer here?
Well, let me think on that a bit. Now it is 2 days later and here is what came to me. I will call it Use-ism. What is use-ism you ask?
Its all about using your stuff. If you have things then just sequentially go through them and see if you actually use them. They will transform from being shiny objects to helping you live a better and fuller life.
Clothes etc are always a good place to start. Wear what you have, something every day. If you don’t love it, send it on. Gotta love that dress shirt and sweatpants combo for ZOOMJ
You will find that some stuff you have will be pretty useless. Other stuff is actually quality stuff but you just don’t use it. Why keep it then?
Is there any neuroscience on this topic?
In a study Led by Flinders University Professor Mike Kyrios, it was found that Hoarding Disorder assigns great significance to the emotional attachment that individuals place on possessions as a way of compensating for a lack of emotional warmth experienced in their early years.
“As a consequence, by not having a strong sense of emotional belonging, the people who hoard cling to personal belongings, to mimic a heightened sense of security and control.
“The strong attachment to possessions compensates for their feelings of uncertainty or being threatened.
“In addition, a need to keep possessions in view compensates for poor confidence in their memory. They deal with fears about decision making by holding on to possessions even when the resulting clutter is detrimental to their quality of life.”
I realize that hoarding is an extreme version of having stuff but the emotions are most likely the same. Stuff attachment has to do less with the stuff itself and much more with the emotions attached to them.
Here is an example. I have my first bass guitar hanging on the wall. The wiring has gone bad so playing it is not much fun. I have had it in the shop but it needs to be rewired. I have it hanging there because of the emotions that are attached to it. I played it for years. Many great gigs and shows. Even better practice sessions. Why keep it??? Emotions man…emotions.
I will keep it but now it is clear why its hanging there. Other stuff can go.
So where do you start with your cleaning up? With the things that have little or no emotional significance for you. They carry a low threshold of letting go.
Then you can go to the next level of stuff and attachment. Eventually you will have a baseline of stuff. It all works for you and it all means something to you.
Can you get rid of more? Sure but do you have to?
If you use your stuff and it means something to you that’s great. You won’t need more because you have the right stuff.
Simultaneously you are getting stronger as an emotional warrior. Each item you can unpack in terms of actual use, simultaneously clears up the emotional juggernaut involved.
Slowly but sure you will master your emotions and attain freedom and fulfillment.