I can always count on my kids to teach me important lessons. Tonight I learned a lesson from my two-year-old daughter on how holding on to stuff makes us feel secure.
When I started my journey to minimalism, one of the first areas I decluttered was my daughter’s room. She had so many toys that she hardly ever played with. I successfully cut down her stuffed animal collection to less than half of what she started with. I discovered tonight, that it’s probably time to declutter her room even more.
After we rock together and then sing her favorite song “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” she then starts asking for each stuffed animal one by one. If I indulge her, at the end of it all, she will have every single one of her stuffed animals in bed with her for the night. Eventually half of the mess ends up on the floor and she ends up lying on top of the rest of it. It looks incredibly uncomfortable, but she keeps asking for it all night after night.
So, here’s the life lesson my daughter taught me tonight: You may think that having lots of “stuff” around you will keep you secure, but in the end it just makes life incredibly uncomfortable.
The things that make you feel secure may not be stuffed animals, books, or dolls. But have you ever truly looked around at what you’re keeping close to you and asked, “Why, am I keeping that?”
- Perhaps you feel more secure with an overstocked pantry of food that hardly ever gets touched but you like feeling prepared.
- Maybe you’re holding on to lots of extra clothes that you might be able to fit into one day.
- You might be holding on to lots of knick-knacks and photographs because you’re afraid of losing the memories.
- Maybe there were things you always wanted as a kid but never had; so now you collect them and just can’t stand to part with them.
- Perhaps you’re like me and hang on to books…ones you’ve read and loved and those you intend to read “someday.”
The objects that we find security in will be different for everyone. These are the things in our life that are hardest to get rid of because of the psychological sense of security that they carry with them. It’s not really that they do anything for us, but we just get accustomed to having them around and it feels strange to imagine life without them.
When you go looking for a sense of security in physical things, you simply won’t find what you’re looking for. Instead, look for a true sense of security in people, in relationships, and in time well spent. When you can learn to let go of the physical things you’ve attached your sense of security to, you’ll realize a freedom waiting for you. In time you’ll realize you don’t miss them…just like my daughter won’t really miss that giant wiener dog shaped like a pillow.
So…What stuff have you been hanging on to?
Article originally published on 10/18/2010