I’ve watched a few cable shows called, “Pickers” and “Hoarders” and I see these people who have crippled themselves by stuff. It’s horrible. People who can’t part with an empty box, a cartoon clipped from a newspaper, a unopened gift they purchased years ago but never gave, a rusty bicycle, rotten and mold ridden food, the list goes on.
They have ultimately decided to define themselves by these items. They seem stuck, either unable or unwilling to be able to let go. They seemed hopeless and content with the mess of their lives. Some had lost their children to the state. Some faced foreclosure on two houses because they couldn’t sell the one that was filled with stuff.
My heart grieved for them…I saw the mental anguish and pain over a simple piece of paper. Often times their past was one of the major determining factors as to why they were the way they were. Instead of the person overcoming and dominating events, situations, abuse, and bad relationships…they were haunted by the things of their past. Often times they saw themselves as normal, no-one had held up a mirror to them, and they couldn’t explain why they couldn’t part with an item…other than the fact that they felt as though they were throwing away a memory.
Which leads me to the question…what defines you? Is it your relationships? Is it in another? Is it in things? Is it in memories? What do people think of you…have you asked them?
I think a good litmus test is to ask someone, “If you could look me up in the dictionary, what would it say about me?” If they were a good and close friend they might tell you they’d find your picture next to ugly…you’d both share a good laugh and they would seriously tell you what the definition might be. I think we’d all be surprised as to some of the answers that we might get.
However if you don’t like the definition that someone gives you, it’s your job to change their perspective and the definition. Not all of us are like celebrities or corporations that can hire PR firms to handle our mess and junk…we must face the facts and while it may not be our problem, it is our responsibility.