October 20, 2009

When your possessions start possessing you.

I was doing a presentation last week when one of the “mature” ladies uttered the phrase in the title.  It got me thinking.

When we start out in life many of us measure our success by the accumulation of possessions…the more luxurious the better; my car, my house, my beautiful china, my designer clothes and so on.  We seem to need these things to show the world that we are “good” at whatever we do, and we are being appropriately rewarded for it. 

Then we enter a phase where our activities become important; luxury trips, attendance at sporting events and concerts, dining out.  And the possessions just get better.  We are really successful.

Sometimes it is only when we are older that we come to feel that it is people and relationships that are the true measure of our success.  But we still have all those possessions …they really add up over the years.  And they become heavier…a weight on our shoulders.  Many are buried in closets and cupboards where we can’t see them, but we know they are there. Or do we?

Somehow it is difficult to let them go.  Why?  Sometimes it is because we really love them.  But sometimes it’s just inertia.  We can’t give them away because it seems to diminish our own worth.  We can’t sell them because the laws of supply and demand mean that we aren’t going to get what we think they are “worth”.  And that really weighs us down.

Is it time for an “attitude adjustment”?  Shouldn’t we know by now that our value is based on who we are and what we contributed to the world during our life? And couldn’t the measure of that be the family and friends who surround us now?

Perhaps it is time to shed some of those possessions. “Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.”

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