Stuff can't fix everything
Stuff can't fix everything

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Ever notice how when you have a need in your life, there is always someone trying to sell you something to fill it? Looking tired? Buy some makeup. Out of shape? Buy a gym membership. Bad hair day? Buy a hat. Well, maybe that last one is just for me but you get the idea. It seems such a pervasive idea that sometimes it even goes undetected, until we have left the Target with yet again $100 of “stuff” when we only went in for some milk — try not to buy milk the same place you can buy underwear, that will prevent this from happening again.

I myself have succumbed to marketers, I’ll admit. It was last year when I was trying to buy a hat for my daughter. I was frustrated with her constantly taking it off because it was sliding down to her eyes, so I wanted one with a strap. After doing some research and finding what I thought was a great buy, she ended up not wanting to keep it on anyways because, well, because she is a kid — let’s be honest, did I really think a strap was going to solve that? After expressing my frustration over the “quest for the perfect hat”, my husband (bless him), said something that shook my belief system: “Stuff doesn’t solve our problems” [tweet this]. I looked at him, mouth agape, and said, “Yes it does! I mean…well, it can…if your problem is that you need something!” I couldn’t believe I was actually defending my position, but even as I said the words it revealed a flaw in my perception of stuff.

What DO we need?

Once I had tore back the curtain of consumerist thinking (and revealed the years of thoughts that I had been keeping like a hoarder stashes old magazines), I started to ask myself this challenging question: If stuff isn’t going to fill our needs, then what will? Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was covering up every single feeling or tough day by going to the mall, I wasn’t. I had just mistakenly believed that things could bring me more than they were ever created for. I was sometimes using a product as a bandaid, a temporary solution to a deeper problem. This was more evident to me once I started seeing my stuff for what it was. A purse was just a place to put my wallet, keys and phone … and a diaper, two packages of saltines, a soother and a barbie, but thats only because I am a mom, I swear. If I had a purse that I liked and met its purpose, why did I need 5? Same goes for everything else I owned. So the journey to minimalism began.

The Beatles had a thought on what we need, and they even put it to a catchy tune — a jingle to market their idea, dare I say?. Besides love we all need security, purpose and hope [tweet this]. Last I checked there wasn’t a store advertising those products. Oh sure, they’ll all try and make us feel like their product can give a similar feeling, or fulfill our needs, but don’t believe them. Instead, look up towards the One who made you, look around to the ones who love you, look down to the earth beneath you, and look inside to who you are. There you will begin to find all you need to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. And if you need a purse along the way, I’ve got four extra I can spare.

4 thoughts on “When Stuff Can’t Help You

  1. Great post Cheryl (or J-F?)! I also find it can sometimes be a bit of a struggle to come to realize that “stuff” isn’t the solution to your problems.That’s why we have to question ourselves. Anyways, have a good day!

    1. Hey Marco,
      Thanks! Yes, I’m learning not to give our things more power or responsibilities than they need to have. It seems a strange way to say it but thinking that way helps me realize the limitations possessions have and if I have an issue to think through what the root of the problem is and if it can be solved another way. Trust you have a good week. 🙂

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