Your things are just things; not you, people you love or your memories

I am not saying to stop loving what you own.

Or to stop wanting different pairs of boots in different styles, colours and heights.

I am just saying to stop being emotionally attached to items that in all reality, are not indicators of who you are and your life.

Your things are not who you are.

Your things are not your memories — take a picture of it and then donate it or give it away.

I’ve seen people cry over breaking a mug, and even while it might be your favourite mug, the first one you ever got from your dear Nana who is now deceased — your mug is not your Nana.

You are totally right to feel upset about breaking the mug as it was a sentimental item, but you can’t lose the memories just because of a broken thing.

A broken item.

See, these things escalate as well.

First, you break the mug. You’re upset.

Then you lash out to your husband or wife, who is confused about where the hostility is coming from.

Then you bring the negative energy to work, and by this time, you’ve infected everyone close to you, who is also upset because you’re upset.

Everyone’s blood pressure is up, they’re all hurt, confused and now you have to spend time apologizing.

All over a mug.

It’s a banal example, but a good one I think about to remind myself that even if I lose my most precious teddy bear in the world, it’s just a thing.

It isn’t who I am, and it isn’t me, my memories or anyone I love.

  • Emilytichy

    Amen!  I always wondered if there was something wrong with me….. I cut the hospital bracelet off my newborn baby and threw it away.  Later I saw that most mom’s keep it and scrap book it. Funny- it never occurred to me!  I can donate/toss or give away everything.  Now I know I’m a minimalist!

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  • TatiLie

    This is so right! I agree on every word you wrote.

    Unfortunately, so many people think I’m cold for not getting attached to special objects. I imagine it happens a lot to you, too.

  • Beverley

    I would agree, to an extent. However, I do feel an emotional attachment to certain items (including a mug as it happens!) and I hold on to them primarily because in my forgetful old age, I’d like to still have them so that I can hold them, feel them, smell them, anything to bring back memories that I may otherwise struggle to recall. I’d hate to reach old age and have nothing or very little to remember the past by.

    But I shall be more selective as to which memories I’d like to hold on to. ^_~ Maybe I won’t cry too much if my mug breaks …

  • http://girlwithredballoon.blogspot.com Red

    You're absolutely right about that! I've found that letting go of my attachment to things has made me loose my attachment to almost all of my things, even the sentimental items. For instance, I had a teddy bear that my grandmother gave me when I was born. I tried displaying it properly in the apartment, but that didn't really work so I donated it so some other child could love it as much as I did when I was a child. I have photos of the bear to enjoy when I think of it, but otherwise, I just don't think of it. Same goes for expensive things in our apartment. Prior to my journey with minimalism, I would OBSESS over every little scratch on our furniture because furniture costs a lot of money! Now, I realize furniture is just furniture. A mug is just a mug. A teddy bear is just a teddy bear. Giving up that bear didn't make me forget my grandmother or forget hugging the bear as a child. Those memories will always be with us, whether the items are or not. :)

  • http://notthatkindofgirl.net That Kind Of Girl

    I couldn't agree more with this! As a lifelong packrat, I grappled with this lesson the hard way when I pared down almost all of my belongings for a cross-country move a little over a year ago. In the end, though, I realized that the things I value most about the majority of my sentimental objects are the warm memories they trigger. So I took pictures of everything so I could remember them if I got nostalgic, then carted off several carloads of "memories" to Goodwill to make room for my new life!

  • http://minimalistmum.blogspot.com/ Jessica Parsons

    Even more: our anger is not just about our loss, but often also at ourselves for causing the loss. Even though we are all human and make mistakes, we feel we ought to be perfectly careful all the time with items that we cherish. We set our feelings about the item above our feelings about ourselves. Unfair and unreasonable. And then we may take that anger out inappopriately too.

    This post also reminded me of my recent post http://minimalistmum.blogspot.com/2010/08/objects