Below is a 3min clip from the film Up In The Air that I recommend you watch it before reading on.
Although fictional this scene struck me as incredibly profound. If you personally think about all the things we have in our lives and how much they weigh, do you really want to be carrying that all around?
I have personally felt the relief – the almost literal weight lift from my shoulders – when I have sold or donated items I no longer use.
That’s because psychological pain can manifest itself as physical pain. We’ve all felt heartbreak.
If we are stressed out by our clutter, our commitments, our responsibilities and more, they can wreak havoc on our mental and physical well-being. It’s only when we step back, reassess, think consciously and deliberately about our choices do we begin to find meaning in the chaos.
However I disagree with Ryan Bingham on relationships.
Margaret Clark, a professor of Psychology at Yale, did a study looking at our sense of security as human beings which can come from either material goods or supportive relationships. If we feel insecure in our relationships, we can place more value on stuff.
“I think people consciously know very well that they don’t need everything they want to acquire or have. They don’t need to be told that. But, they may not be aware of why they do this.” – Insecurity in Relationships Binds People to Possessions
Our relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives and a sense of belonging to a community is vital.
Physical possessions are just the beginning. They are a good place to start as they provide immediate visual feedback. It’s either there or it isn’t.
Relationships, commitments, hobbies are all very abstract and intangible. They are the grey area. It can be harder to distinguish what’s important and meaningful because they’re in a constant state of flux.
It’s not about the stuff. You can get rid of all your stuff and still be miserable. It’s about what’s beyond the stuff that matters.