The Urge To Have

“Just because something belongs to you doesn’t mean you should keep it for the rest of your life. Things are meant to be transitory.”
Susan Wright

I wouldn’t say I have a shopping addiction, but I do have a shopping gene.  My mom is a self-confessed shopaholic, unable to wear everything she purchases.  I get her leftovers, or unused items.  My grandmother has an endless supply of stuff (Bath & Bodywork soaps, purses, jewelry, clothes) to give to her 100 plus co-workers for their birthdays and holiday gifts.  I don’t really want more stuff, I know I have more than enough, but I can’t help but be tempted.

This is why I choose to only shop when I am in dire need of an item or when I am on holiday.  I don’t want to get sucked into the endless of abyss of wanting things.

But then there is the advent of the internet.  The whole world is a mall that fits in your hand.  Generally I am good at blocking it out, but when a sale arises, I can’t help myself.  Today the Cambridge Satchel Company emailed that their sale of up to 70% off is on now and ending.  I immediately logged onto the site, and started to put things in my cart.  I noticed numerous items had already been sold out.  This further heightened my anxiety to beat out other who may be purchasing items in the online ether simultaneously. Sales seem to ignite this competitive fire in me.  I am like Veruca Salt who wants it now! Things I did not even need, I was willing to buy simply because they were on sale.  What if I want them later, will I want to spend twice as much?  Aren’t I just saving my future self money?  But then I put my addiction on hold, and cleaned out the purses in my closet.


I began to rearrange them, and realize I have so many designer purses already that I do not get enough use of.  Do I really need two more purses because they were on sale?  I have gotten better at stuff.  Using the Konmari method (Book: Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up), I have begun to let go of things that no longer inspire joy in me.  Reorganizing my closet, I let go of two more purses today.  This does not mean, I must immediately replace them.  Let them go.

I don’t know where this urge to have and accumulate comes from. Hereditary, due to my mother and grandmother’s shopping addictions? Cultural, because the fashion magazine and advertisers encourage us to want the newest and best? Is it because I’m a woman and societal expectations of me, and I care too much about my exterior?  Perhaps I am just bored, or am hopeful that the next item I purchase will bring me a momentary glimpse of excitement, compliments, or happiness.

I began to sort through my phone for images of stuff I wanted to purchase the past several weeks during my recent trips to Israel and Italy…

Thank goodness for smart phones, I was able to take photos of things I wanted versus actually buying them.  This helped my urge in some way.  I was able to capture it, attain it in pixel format.  It was mine, even though only virtually.  But why do I need to have?  Can’t I simply appreciate that exists in the world?

I’m perhaps even writing this blog piece now to postpone pushing “purchase” on that electronic cart.  I know deep down, these things won’t make me happy, they are only things.  And like everything else, I will become bored with them, and search for the next thing.

I realize this is a reoccurring thing with me (re: Dec 27th’s post).  But it’s something that I think many of us struggle with.  Do I need to fill my life with more stuff?  An excess of things, that I begin to forget what I have?

And so, I will practice my mindfulness at this moment.  I will see this urge to buy is temporary.  It will pass.  Notice the initiation of the urge to buy arise, the peak, and the cessation.  In Buddhism, it’s discussed that everything in life has a birth, peak, and death.  This includes our breath, thoughts, feelings, sensations, and even our lives.  If I wait this out enough, it will pass.

The biggest thing in all this is to notice the fluctuations as an observer, and allow it to pass.  Question where this urge to want is coming from.  Distinguish what is a need versus a want. And act accordingly.

“This is the definition of clutter: things that exist in your outer life to distract you from the inner things that you’re avoiding. If you avoid something, it grows…. The great thing is, the reverse is also true: when you honestly look at something, it shrinks. When you see the situation for what it is, bypassing the emotional layers that coloured it and made it into a clutter monster, it becomes simple. That’s how peaceful clutter busting is. You’re honestly looking at each layer of distraction, questioning the thing, letting it go, and realizing what’s underneath. Looking directly at something has the power of a magnifying glass in the sun. The sun is you; the glass, your attention”
Brooks Palmer


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Aunt Christine
    Feb 11, 2018 @ 21:32:14

    S right on many levels and I’m just as much to blame as the next. We stay within our money bracket and think hey it’s not going to break me, it doesn’t but it’s used then away from r another day which doesn’t cone cause in reality didn’t need it anyway. Great blog Tricia


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