Attachment to things

Letting go of certain things is hard because we have an attachment to them.

Maybe it’s something we’d been eyeing for a long time before we got it. Or it’s a gift from our loved one. And that there are certain memories associated with it. Also, we are often deeply attached to something/someone we have invested so much into – time, energy, and of course, money.

For me, there’s always a psychological side of owning things. For example, as a kid I felt that my parents grant me freedom and independence when they let me choose my own shoes for my first day of school. I feltl big being a 7-year-old that can chose. That pair of shoes was belonged to me. The decision of the purchase came from me.

Some kids have attachment to things even earlier. Blanket, toys and sleeping spot they couldn’t let go.

As an adult, there’s a sense of achievement that came with my house and car purchases, as if there are the big milestones that confirm my adulthood. We think possessions reflects who we really are, or at least plays a role on how we would like to be perceived.

When I started the minimalism journey, I used to think that it’s gonna be awesome if I am able to leave everything behind. Now I realize that it is not necessary and doesn’t align with my priorities. Ownership and attachment to things somehow are inevitable. We are still dependent to material possessions that exist in our life not just for the sake of display.

We still need certain things to live and function.

So, my minimalist approach now is to be aware of how I assign meanings to my things – to identify the emotion and psychological beliefs towards my purchases and existing possessions. The meanings should focus on the functions that ease my daily life – how they add value to my priority.

I just don’t treat them as individuals or trophies. Not like how I treat my kids, definitely. I don’t give them names and sleep with them.

Should I buy something I don’t really need just to validate myself? NO, I shouldn’t – only do so if it has a function that solve a current problem. If I lose ‘the material thing’, should I be sad because of the attachment I have? NO I shouldn’t – just get a new one if it’s so important. Should I lose everything? NO, I shouldn’t either – by all means, please own all the necessaries.

Reasons to unnecessary purchases

I think there are few reasons why we buy things we don’t need.

1. Good hormone impulse – we go to the mall to meet our friends to hangout. It’s a good and happy feeling – lots of hormone. Then we see something cute. Our friends tell us that it’s cute too. And so, goodbye money. Welcome cute-thing we don’t really need (that we later realise that it’s not so cute at all when we arrive home)

2. Loneliness & boredom – we feel like there’s something missing. Is it the black dress or the turtle neck knitted sweater. Is it the excitement of having the latest and new release ‘something’ our friends are raving about. The ‘missing thing’ most of the times are just our loneliness of (maybe) not knowing what to do during weekends, not having deep connections in our relationship or not knowing ourselves and our purposes.

3. Pressure – friends, Instagram and Youtube hauls. Should I say more?

4. Not prepared – sometimes we buy thing we already have because we forget to bring it at the very important occasion, often because we don’t plan very well.

Quality over quantity

One of the biggest fear towards minimalism is – that it will downgrade our life.

That we will settle with lower standards. That contentment will become our comfort zone. That we will look ugly and poor.

Again, I think this is just a myth. In fact, it is actually the total opposite. Minimalism increases the consciousness about what we bring into our life – quality over quantity.

I don’t have two or three of the same things just because this one is lack of something and the other is lack of another thing. The one thing that stick and is the best instead of too many just-OK things that I keep piling up.

Frugal is always good but how much we’re willing to pay for our possessions is subjective to whether we can afford it or not. But since we’re not buying stuff as frequently and impulsively, we will have more money to invest on our important things (only when we need to buy/replace them)