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Sober From Clutter - Part 2

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Sober From Clutter - Part 2 By: Janet L. Hall

"He who dies with the most toys wins," should read, "Those with the most toys will die first!"

Why? Because of the stress, worry, and debt your "toys" might be costing you.

It's the quality and usage of an item that should be important. Not how many or how much you have.

Your possessions, collections, and all the "stuff" you are buying or holding onto are NOT who you are.

Others and your possessions are not responsible for your happiness. Dependence upon others or your possessions will only fill your void temporarily, if at all. You will eventually become bored, feel alone, or empty, and become a victim of clutter and debt.

When you are balanced and one with Spirit you are complete. You will not have a feeling of lack or a void to fill.

We fall prey to filling up our lives with "things" because we're being fed the message that "things" will bring us fulfillment.

Marketing products has become a "science," so let's briefly take a look at what marketers focus on when plotting their strategies for selling their products.

Marketing 101

Four Influences of Consumer Behavior [Source: Business, by: Griffin and Ebert]

1. Personal influences can include your personality, life style, and economic status.
2. Psychological influences can include your motivations, perceptions, ability to learn, and attitude. 3. Social influences can include family, others opinions you seek, and referrals from friends, co-workers, and professional associations. 4. Cultural influences can include your "way of living," ethnic groups with shared values, and social class (your background, occupation, and income).

These factors will not only have an impact on what products you buy but why you buy them. Sometimes one or two of these influences might outweigh the others.

"Americans love to collect things, and a video collection will make a statement about your personality just as a book library does." Al Reuben, Vestron Video, Executive V.P., 1988.

What kind of a statement does your "stuff" say about your personality?

The buying process starts out the same for everyone. We have a problem or a need. Rational and emotional motives are what our "buying" decisions are based on. Our emotional motives can be impulsive, spur-of-the-moment, or a sudden urge, and can include other factors, such as sociability, imitation of others, and aesthetics.

When we buy things with our emotional motives, we should ask the following question: What emotions are we really trying to gratify, or replace?

According to the 7th Edition of Contemporary Marketing: "Motives are inner states that direct a person toward the goal of satisfying a felt need. The action is taken to reduce a state of tension and return to a condition of equilibrium.

Reduce a state of tension; create balance, harmony ... interesting.

What is the "felt" need that's missing from your life? In other words, what is missing from your Spirit?

What desired state are you trying to achieve or what are you trying to replace when you continue to buy and bring or keep unneeded things into your life?

What are you truly longing for when you shop till you drop, buy like there is no tomorrow, stockpile, or hoard just in case?

What are you dissatisfied with in your life?

What are you searching for?

Are you making rational decisions when you continue to bring more "stuff" into your life, and not take anything out?

Marketers have also concluded that our self-concept or how we view ourselves plays an important role in our buying behavior. They have identified four Self-Concept Components: Real self, self-image, looking glass self, and ideal self. [Source: Contemporary Marketing, by: Boone & Kurtz]

What self-concept do you see of yourself when you go shopping?

Do you buy clothes that almost fit? Promising yourself you can lose a couple of extra pounds, only to find the clothes months later, still with tags on and you still can't fit into.

Do you buy electronic gizmos and gadgets because your "peers" or friends have them?

Do you lavish yourself with toilettes to try and make you "feel better" about your life?

Do you buy "collectibles" until the collections take over a room, your house, your car, and your life with the hope that "one day" they will bring in the "BIG Bucks?"

Do you buy because you have a credit card that's not maxed out?

Do you get all "gung-oh" about a new craft/hobby and buy the best and the latest gadgets for that craft/hobby to only lose interest in a month or so?

What were you trying to fill your Spirit with the last time you went shopping?

The belief that all you're buying, all your stuff, will bring you happiness, joy, love, and status is a big crock! You know it and I know it. And what about the others you mistakenly pass on this belief to? Your children, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and employees can get caught up in this belief because belief systems get passed around, and what you believe becomes your reality!

5 W's of Shopping:
The next time you get the urge to shop or shower your children with unneeded gifts stop and try to identify what is really happening.

WHO might be bothering you or WHOM might you be angry with?

WHAT is on your mind or WHAT do you really want?

WHEN are you going to find a "different" approach to feeding your Spirit?

WHEN are you going to start working on creating new positive habits?

WHERE are you going to look for "what is missing?"

WHY do you care?

Because you love yourself!

Marketing analysts like to cater to kids and target parents using a variety of feelings. Guilt and love are two biggies.

Are others imposing their belief systems on you, and what their interpretations or misinterpretations are to being a good parent?

Television, society, books, parents, and peers tell us that in order to be a good parent we must buy this particular toy or that expensive shoe. We shower our children with things they don't REALLY need, don't want, or don't have room for. We work an extra job or two so they can have the best "stuff," while eating good nutritional food, love, and quality time together have become second rated.

Do you feel guilty because you don't have the time to spend with your children so you shower them with gifts and things to amuse them?

Are you buying them pets to replace your love and affection?

What are you teaching your children? That an unlimited supply of money and "stuff" are theirs for the asking.

If you aren't giving your children your attention, your love, or the time you need to spend with them, you might feel guilty, and solve these "problems" with the solution of overcompensating them with too many toys, and too much "stuff."

"Here, take these toys, this "stuff." They can give you unlimited fun, pleasure, and love. Something mom and dad don't have the time, energy, or least I say, desire to do with or for you!" Pretty heavy!

In turn their toys and "stuff" becomes a substitute for you. The child learns and believes that having a lot of "stuff" signifies love and affection. This false substitute for your attention, love or time is only temporary. Children are only temporarily enlightened by all their "stuff," and will become bored, or worse, want more!

Their "stuff" doesn't make them feel good inside, something is missing- oh yeah, parents!

They grow up wanting to give what they didn't have (even if they had a lot). This is the way they were taught to show love, to not feel guilty for not being there, or showing their parents they are better "providers" then they were. The vicious circle of misinterpreted beliefs starts again.

In the book, What You Think Of Me Is None Of My Business, author Terry Cole-Whittaker says, "that wanting your children to have a better life than you had sounds loving and sensible but often means: "I never got the love and approval I was looking for, so I want my child to fulfill my dreams. ...so he grows up with a misunderstanding of what constitutes happiness. He begins to believe that people, places, and things are the source of his own good.""

Instead of showering children with "stuff "and creating bad habits, bad examples, and false beliefs, SPEND some TIME with your children.

10 FREE Things to do with your children:

1. Play in the sandbox with them and build castles!

2. Play Hide and Seek

3. Play dress up

4. Take them to the playground, it's fun and great exercise if you actually join in the fun with them of sliding, swinging, twirling, and climbing.

5. Take a walk with them, and talk or just be still.

6. Teach them some life skills: cooking, laundry, cleaning, writing a check, balance a checkbook, planting a garden, fishing, etc.

7. Ride bikes together.

8. Play some board games with them.

9. Sit down and EAT with them.

10. Give them a hug, your love, your approval - these things will mean much more to them then "stuff." These things will not only feed their Spirit, but yours as well.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm sure you can think of a lot of other things. If you would like to share, please send them to mailto:overhall@chesapeake.net and I'll post them in the next Balance issue.

Once you realize and accept that you are a complete and spiritual being, that you are greater than your possessions, you are complete without them, you can begin to take the steps to get rid of your clutter, the excess, and begin to let go and begin to get organized.

If you need professional help, get it. But remember you are the only one that can change your habits of overcompensation and of false material beliefs that you think will bring you and your children happiness.

You and only you are the CAUSE. You are not a victim. You have the choice to get sober from your clutter.

For additional help: The Organizing and Feng Shui Wizard, Janet L. Hall, FSII has a FREE newsletter, OverHall IT! at http://www.overhall.com/newsletter.htm and many organizational products for your office, home, and computer at http://www.overhall.com/products.htm Janet is a Professional Organizer, Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, Speaker, and Author and can help you regain control of your life, your time, your stuff, and your environment.

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For additional help: The Organizing and Feng Shui Wizard, Janet L. Hall, FSII has a FREE newsletter, OverHall IT! at http://www.overhall.com/newsletter.htm and many organizational products for your office, home, and computer at http://www.overhall.com/products.htm Janet is a Professional Organizer, Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, Speaker, and Author and can help you regain control of your life, your time, your stuff, and your environment.




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