Instead of ownership, when you pay for something, think of it as the cost of renting that item until it no longer serves you. Then, you can release it back into the river of stuff that flows throughout our society. We get hung up on the permanence of our relationship with the stuff and it leaves us stuck. It’s time to release, release, release.
Have you ever bought a cool, shiny, new kitchen widget, used it three times, and then become bored with it? So, it sits there (being not nearly as sexy as it was the day you met it in the store). Perhaps you have a pair of shoes that you just had to have, but they hurt your feet and are now collecting dust in the back of your closet. Or maybe you have an ever-expanding collection of movies, music, or books that, if you were inclined to notice how much you actually use them, you’d realize most of them won’t be used again.
Why is it all still there? Most of the time, I’ve found that it’s because we’ve committed to this stuff — or so it appears — with our hard-earned dollars. We brought it in the house and, even if we now recognize that we wouldn’t bring it in again, we can’t bring ourselves to take it out.
That is one of the most oppressive illusions I find in the minds of my students and clients as they work to re-frame their relationship with stuff. Some people think it would be wasteful to give away (or sell at a second-hand price) something in which they “invested,” which would no be longer true if we thought of our investment as paying a borrower’s fee, as opposed to having made a life-long commitment.
Of course, there are others who believe the stuff they’ve accumulated somehow makes them better, more valuable. It’s simply not true. Nothing outside of you can make you more of anything worth being.