Stuff may be a symptom of one of the most fundamental causes of you feeling unwell. Stuff is not always bad, but for many people stuff is filling a void. For many people, it is easier to find a few moments of enjoyment with a new piece of stuff then it is to fix the relationships that are causing sadness. For some people stuff is food. The health consequences of stuffing oneself are obvious and well-known. For other people stuff is collecting tractors or dolls or cameras or any other thing. Collecting, per se, is not bad. We're talking about something a little different from just being an avid collector. We're talking about replacing happiness not adding to happiness. Collecting is not pathological by itself. A collector has a long term abiding commitment to the craft of collecting and organizing the collection and curating. It is a part of his life, and it is fulfilling.
But when you're filling voids with stuff, that's a very different thing. When you're stuffing yourself with material things, because you feel empty emotionally or socially or spiritually, that is unhealthy stuff.
Not only is hiding behind this stuff preventing you from repairing important relationships, emotions, or spiritual questions, it is adding a separate burden.
Stuff costs money. For many people, stuff can put some on the brink of financial ruin, and for many more, it puts them into financial stress. People often go to financial counselors to help with their financial stress. That's only treating the symptom. If you've been trying to buy happiness or buy your way out of depression or buy your way into a relationship or soothe your soul with goodies, no amount of financial counseling will fix that.
The first step to the treatment of any illness is to let go of guilt, let go of shame, and look at the problem for what it is. If you have a lot of stuff and making the payments on all your stuff is causing you financial grief, I would encourage you to do what you learn to do when you were on fire in first grade. Stop, drop, and roll. Stop and think why am I buying all this stuff? Try to get that underlying initial answer you come up with. Try to be honest with yourself. You may want to take a trusted friend with you on this journey, because often, it is dark and painful. You may need to find professional help to go with you on this journey, because it can be dark and painful. Drop what you're doing and drop to your knees. Contemplate the consequences of your actions. Roll into action. Once you understand the underlying cause of your stuff addiction, take the very difficult and vulnerable steps towards fixing it. Whether your fear is of rejection, not being loved, not being accepted, or pretty, or handsome, or strong, or whatever else might be bothering you—look those beliefs in the eye. You are precisely who you are, and while all of us strive to be a better person every day, who you are right now is absolutely good enough. You're absolutely good enough to take the first step of this journey.
I want to leave you with a simple way to get out of your circle of debt once you have really started to understand the cause. Obviously, the first step is to understand the cause and then stop the hemorrhage, that is to say, stop buying stuff. Consider consulting a financial professional for details, but what follows is one possible way. Next find all of your bills and lay them out on your table. Order them from the smallest balance due to the largest balance due. Figure out your minimum payment on each bill and of course, make that payment. Next, concentrate on the smallest bill and add every extra dollar you can to that bill to pay it off as quickly as possible. Once that bill is paid off, take all of the money you were using to pay off that bill and add it to the next bill. Concentrate all of your efforts on paying off that one bill. Once that bill is paid off, take all of the money from the first bill and all of the money paying on the second bill and add it to the third bill. Place all of your efforts on paying off that third bill. Keep going in this manner. As you do this, you will find that the rapidly accelerating payoff of your bills is almost addicting in itself. By focusing on the goal of paying off a single bill, you refocus yourself from having stuff to getting out of debt.
Now that you are in the process of repairing your relationships, emotions, and spirit, you will also find yourself in less financial stress. This will allow for greater growth of your person.