We ARE living in a material world, but that does not mean you have to subscribe to that philosophy.
We’ve made it through another Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 99.9% of the commercials on television are for a sale or a “must have” gift. The media feeds the frenzy by telling us what we should give and ask for this holiday and how you better get these goods now before they’re all gone! Because if you don’t…yeah, a whole lot of nothing happens if you don’t, other than waiting for the next iPhone, iPad, Ugg Boot, etc. that you have to have, and it can go on like that forever unless you consciously choose something else.
We’re bombarded with images of stuff, with the implication that this stuff somehow elevates personal value.
Have you ever felt that the type of gift someone gives you indicates his/her level of love and affection for you? Or, have you ever feared that if you don’t have the right stuff (the designer labels, the newest gadgets, the nice apartment, the top model car), you’re not worthy of someone’s love and friendship? Unfortunately, this problem pervades our lives more than just at the holidays.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine who just started seeing a man who is very wealthy. In the course of conversation, she said she could never bring him to her apartment because it wasn’t good enough and was so small and shanty compared to his multi-million dollar penthouse.
I was blown away! I asked her, if she actually thought he would end their relationship based on the size or location of her apartment, why she would date him at all? It sounded superficial and shallow to me. She is a wonderful, successful, beautiful woman whose value has nothing to do with her home (which, by the way, is just lovely). Then I asked her if she thought it were possible that she might be projecting her insecurity onto him and not giving him enough credit. She said she wanted to think about it. Her feelings of shame and inadequacy were obvious by her response. Whether he is a superficial jerk or just a victim of her projection remains to be seen.
I want you to think about how much of your self-esteem is connected to owning, giving, and getting STUFF.
I’m not anti-stuff and am not judging what people spend their money on, but the truth is that it’s not about the stuff. It’s about who you are. It’s not about my friend’s new beau’s wealth but about his decency and integrity as a person.
If you are really about the stuff, I encourage you to take some time to journal why the material matters to you. What else is going on that you are displacing that energy onto tangible goods? How can you shift your perception of value from what you own to who you are and how you act?
This holiday season is a good time to assess your relationships to consumerism and altruism to see if a healthy balance exists.
I am interested to hear your thoughts about struggling with stuff, what you believe is happening on a deeper level, and what advice you can give or maybe what advice you are seeking.
I hope you have a holiday filled with all the things money can’t buy, and, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love