Over the last few decades we have seen an explosion in consumerism on a scale never witnessed before in human history. It is one of the great conundrums of our age – we invent, produce, sell and buy more and more; yet many of us are still unhappy and feeling less connected to other people. So how can having more stuff make us less happy and isolated and what can we do about it?
Getting organized is a very trendy topic these days, no doubt due to the sheer number of possessions that people now collect in modern life. Television shows and magazines make it all sound so simple – buy new storage containers, throw a few things away, add some labels and abracadabra you are organized forever more. Yet all too often this approach to “getting organized” is only a temporary band aid. We have a big tidy up only to lose motivation part way through; then in a matter of days the piles start to build up all over again, just with more storage containers added to the mess. We rarely stop to properly consider the items that we invite into our homes and offices and the negative consequences these items can bring to our families and our workplaces.
So how can having more stuff make us feel unhappy and disconnected? The truth lies in understanding that the greater the amount stuff you choose to own not only reduces the amount of physical space around you, but can also limit the amount of free space in your mind for the things that really matter – family, friends and spending time doing what you love.
Just take a moment and look around the room you are in. How many individual items can you see? How many items should be somewhere else? Are there items you no longer use or that are broken and need throwing away? Maybe there are items you are waiting to give to a friend or to take to a donation centre. Each of these items represents something you need to do in your mind – a bullet point in your “subconscious to-do list”. Now as you look around the room again, imagine that every single one of these items takes a small piece of energy from you every single time you look at it. Think how much energy you could save if you were only surrounded by energy-neutral objects, that you intentionally need or that bring you joy. I believe that the true path to feeling happier, more connected and organized is not just about having less stuff, but in ensuring that we make more intentional choices about the objects we surround ourselves with.
Now imagine yourself in a room surrounded by items that you have chosen. Every single item has a purpose in your space or is a reminder of a positive memory. You have a feeling of calm, peace and possibility. Creating an energy-neutral space, that is not subconsciously sapping you of energy, allows your mind the time and space to relax, to focus on work or simply to enjoy being with your family. Being surrounded by less allows us to truly see ourselves, others and our lives with more clarity and understanding. Our best work is achieved and our happiest memories are formed when we are in a state of “flow” and that is only possible where there is neutral energy, so our minds are free to be open and creative and we can be fully present with others.