A guest post by South African John Stevenson of simple and slow, a great blog about simplifying your life.
Things do have a place in our lives but its easy to confuse that place. So many value their whole lives by their possessions, in fact its common not only that we value ourselves that way but it’s also how we other judge others. The old story of the Jones’s and trying to chase their material wealth through competing with them in a cold war race to own the latest and greatest stuff so that you can be seen to be of value.
Today I took a walk with a new friend and we talked about the differences of people’s wealth, particularly those with expensive cars, and irrespective of how they got them there was an implied comparison. Did they work hard for them, were they just married to someone else who was rich, did they deserve it. Behind all of this were the Jones’s, lurking in their shiny house with their new car and their big-screen HDTV.
Are we not good enough already as we are? When we consider ourselves from our own perspective there is a kind of disbelief that we are making that evaluation correctly. Hence the birth of that external need and striving for the approval of others. The object becomes the mechanism that acts as the go between of the approval we seek and our own self doubt. We do it all the time, day in and day out we look for symbols which we can buy to fill the place of our approval of ourselves.
There is an end to this object cycle, but its not what you think. It is the realization that things are just that, things. That is their place in this world. They cannot replace the internal approval that we all crave. We need to become a self sufficient source of approval for ourselves. In seeking the approval of others either by actions or possessions we trap ourselves into a ceaselessly futile endeavor.
We seek and strive and search but there is only one impermanent source of approval… Your own approval of yourself.