My wife and I are looking at houses with the hopes of moving. As such, we have been decluttering our house and organizing all of our stuff. Holy cow, what a process.
As I go through all of our things, each thing calls my name, wanting my attention. Some things remind me that I have unfinished business with them (a project not completed or a book not read). Others are just hanging out, hoping that someday they will be used…I mean, that is why we are saving it, right? Maybe someday…..someday…a future day that does not exist but bares weight on my mind.
It is a process for sure, getting rid of all of this unneeded stuff. This stuff that is getting tossed, sold, or donated is quickly forgotten once it is out of my sight. Which really shows how important, said item really was.
Out of this process, I have experienced much mental freedom. Strange isn’t it? I get rid of physical stuff, and the more peace of mind I have…I want to get rid of it all. I chuckle as I write this because it is true: I don’t want stuff. I know I (we) need some stuff to operate as a family, but there is no reason to hang on to excess…for a future hypothetical someday.
There is, however, one thing I want to own. There is one thing I choose to own that is far more important to me than any of my personal items, and that is relationships.
My relationships are the most important thing in my life. In fact, that is the only measuring stick I want to judge by. How strong are my bonds with others? When do they think of me? What are the thoughts they have? Have we developed a relationship that had left us both better than before we met? These are the questions that I would rather have taking up that mental real estate than say the nagging someday physical item.
Often we place importance on the material items over our relationships. These material items (smartphones, tablets, cars, books, insert any item) pull us away from those people that matter most. Owning the items really isn’t the issue, but our compulsive behavior around those items causes problems.
So in my mind’s eye, we should own our relationships. Tend to them, as they are the most important centerpieces of our life. When we are spending time with others, we should strive to be fully engaged. Work not to be possessed by our phones, mindless games, distant thoughts, or dare I say it…social media sites. Let’s be present, be aware, and be alive. There is nothing greater than having a real-time dialogue with a friend, family member, or for those daring… a stranger. Let us be here and now with our relationships.
When relationships become strained, or disagreements happen, this is the best time to own them fully. Own the responsibility to make amends, seek clarification, and bring the relationship back to, at minimum, neutral ground. We might feel right in an argument, but that does not mean that we can’t own the result. Feeling right is not a justification for allowing a person/relationship to suffer.
“You can always be right, or you can get along—choose one.” —Joshua Fields Millburn.
Naturally, we can only go so far here, yet the goal is to know that we have tended to the relationship as best we could regardless of who is right or wrong. It is ok to disagree (even healthy), but, to me, it is not ok to allow a disagreement to get in the way of what matters most…a healthy relationship.
In practice, deeper meaning with others will emerge. I have experienced that lasting contentment is found through my relationships but not through all of my material items. Tending to my relationships has helped me transform and grow as an individual. My physical stuff usually serves as a distraction and a source of mental friction.
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
As always, I have lots of work to do, but that is why I am here: to grow, to create, and to polish out all of the blemishes.
Toss the physical and mental garbage…you don’t need it. It will feel great once it is gone.
Photo by Scott Webb via Unsplash