The other day I was reading in my car while I waited to pick up a pizza I ordered. I was startled by a loud bang on the side of my car. Looking up I saw that someone had pulled up next to me and open their door right into the side of my car. I caught eyes with the person and they mouthed “sorry” to me. It didn’t really bother me that they may have scraped up my car so I went back to reading.
Not two minutes later the same person was getting back into their driver’s side door and THUD. They hit my car again. Another “sorry” was mouthed to me and they drove away. Not once during this whole encounter did I think about getting out of my car to see if there were any damages. I didn’t even get upset at all. I thought to myself how unimportant a scratch on my car is and went on with the rest of my day. In fact, I never did go look to see if there was a scratch.
I didn’t think twice about the encounter until later that week when I saw someone in the parking lot at work kneeling next to his fancy sports car. He was checking to see if they could buff out a little ding on their bumper. While I consider it to be common for people to value their possessions, I wondered to myself how many people add stress into their lives by overvaluing certain possessions.
The Right Amount of Value
Now I’m not saying that there aren’t specific items that I own that are of value to me, but when they become overly important I know I need to take a step back. It shouldn’t be the amount of money I spent on an object that causes me to value it. It should be the memories it reminds me of, the entertainment and joy it provides or the functionality it offers.
When someone starts to spend money just to be surrounded by things that make them feel a certain way, then the valuing of possessions has gone too far. By focusing on just what the item does and moving past how cool it is or makes you feel, you can disconnect yourself from your possessions and build stronger human relationships.
Know & Continually Improve Your Values
Everybody has a particular category of spending that they have a weakness for. Some people spend too much on cars and clothes, but for me it has always been electronics. I’ve spent more on electronics in my life than on anything other than college, rent or food.
As much as I try not to, I get pretty attached to my shiny new electronics. When I was younger I would get upset if they got scratches on them and I was hesitant about letting other people use them. Lately I’ve begun to realize that while I still spend money on new electronics, I’m less and less attached to them.
Realize that the things you own are just that; things. They depreciate in value, take up space and are time intensive to care for. Once you can step back and understand this you may stop spending needlessly on possessions to fill your life.
Instead of spending money on things, spend it on experiences. Spend money on treating others instead of focusing only on the next thing that you want. If you really want something bad enough, you won’t forget about it. Why not wait 30 or 60 days and see if you really want to spend that much money on a new toy for yourself.
Enjoy what you have. While you may be wishing you had something that somebody else has, there will always be people that wish they had what you have.