Fear Is Why We Have Too Much Stuff

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Though many of us desire to simplify and live a more minimal life, we still have too much stuff. One reason for this, Leo Babauta argues, is laziness.

The other, bigger motivator for avoiding decluttering, is fear.

To back up his point he gives several examples of specific instances when people are driven by fear to hold on to more than they need. Do any of the following examples bring up memories?

  • You pack too much when you travel, or buy things that you don’t need for the trip. You’re experiencing a fear of uncertainty.
  • You hold onto books that you’ll never read, instruments that you’ll never learn, CDs you’ll never listen to. You’re scared of not being good enough as you are.
  • You keep sentimental items, photographs and the like. You fear that the love you have now isn’t enough.

The vital thing to remember is that, as much as we may want to cling to certain possessions, they’re almost never necessary for survival. We need them to comfort us, to give us certainty.

The sad truth? They don’t do any of these things. They just provide temporary and illusory relief from a world that is fundamentally uncertain.

Leo outlines four ways that anybody can address this needless fear. Doing so will help us to get rid of unnecessary stuff whilst also stopping us from buying more in the future. Whenever you’re on the verge of a shopping spree or getting ready for a clean-out, consider the following steps:

1. Notice the fear – Try to label the fear in the same way as is done in the examples above.

2. Be with it – Allowing the fear to be with you, rather than pushing it away as is our normal tendency, is important. Make friends with it.

3. Smile at it – Give it some warmth, some love.

4. Accept it – Having got to know and become friendly with your fear, accept it, allow it to be, and move on in spite of it.

Learn More About Facing Your Fear of Letting Go of Useless “Stuff”

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