Worthless Objects – why we buy things we don’t need

I want to get a new phone, a new gadget to play with, I don’t really need it, but it would be nice to have.

How many worthless objects do you own? Why do we buy things we simply don’t need?

I’m throwing this out there to the universe.

This got me thinking about objects that make us feel good and why we buy things we don’t need.

After Christmas, I wrote about simplicity and how going back to basics and cleaning out my wardrobes felt like a release.

Worthless objects - why we buy things we don't need

Somehow, letting go of the old stuff and using what I already have makes life light and easy.

But it’s not straightforward.

We hold onto stuff because it makes us feel secure when the reality is that objects add to our already cluttered and disorganised lives.

It makes us feel safe and comfortable, and it fills a hole that might be missing in our lives.

When I had my clear-out, which is still a work in progress, I realised that it is easier to buy and add to my possessions than get rid of them.

I also recognise that I am low when I buy and need that elusive ‘something’ to make me feel better. I am also susceptible to subtle advertising.

It is difficult to admit that the human spirit is hardwired toward selfishness and greed, and while I don’t feel the need to impress or am jealous of another being, new things make us feel good, if only for a short while.

In reality, we are surrounding ourselves with stuff that doesn’t comfort us but only offers buyers remorse, that feeling you get when you buy an expensive pair of shoes after the euphoria has worn off.

Worthless objects - why we buy things we don't need

Buying stuff can make you feel good for a while, but it is short-lived and doesn’t fulfil that inner need for long-term satisfaction and fulfilment.

Those feelings come from within and not from purchasing expensive shoes and handbags.

Such is the dichotomy of capitalism forcing us to buy when we have more than enough, but, like an addict, the notifications and reminders online weaken our resolve.

I could not believe how much stuff I’ve accumulated in the last twenty-five years; in fact, I was embarrassed and humiliated by my apparent greed.

Why do we buy so much? Does it add value and enrich our lives?

I remember watching a TV show many years ago – if you’ve not worn or used an item for more than three years, let it go.

Somehow we feel bound to items like a baby to its mother, and the prospect of removing them will leave an unfilled hole or empty space.

Worthless objects - why we buy things we don't need

And yet removing items even though no longer in use feels like someone is erasing a part of me, and I won’t be the same person if I get rid of something.

I realise that ‘buying’ is a surrogate replacement for something that feels missing.

But it’s the bit of the puzzle I can’t find yet; perhaps I never will.

It is dispiriting not to put the finger on it, but I know insecurity and uncertainty often accompanies this time of the year.

We are almost through January and the collective sigh of relief is almost audible.

I think January is a month for self-reflection.

Will this year be any better than the last, will I get things done that I want to get done, will my parents be okay?

Will I be happy?

My pursuit of happiness is flawed because that is ultimately what I seek.

Ask most people if they are happy, and the majority will fall somewhere between fair to the middle.

There is a distinct difference between being happy and content.

For me, happiness is momentary, the joy at meeting up with a missed friend or laughing at someone’s joke.

Content is long term; you feel content where you’re at right now in your relationship, home or family.

Goldie Hawn’s quote, ‘the only thing that will make you happy is being happy who you are’.

Which makes me think I can’t be happy if I need to buy things to fill that missing space.

I come full circle to the purpose of this blog, we have too many things, and we hoard and accumulate stuff because it makes us feel better.

The moral of the tale?

Only we can make ourselves happy, and when I’ve worked it out, I’ll let you know.

Until next time, happy wardrobe spring clean.

Further reading for you

Shopaholic? I just have to have it!

Has selfishness replaced happiness

The life edit

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