You surely have heard the phrase, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” I frequently refer to money in food terms (I.e. diversification is like having a balanced diet) and this morning, while thinking about the power of mind over matter, it dawned on me that, just like some people who suffer from anorexia see their body as never thin enough, I wonder if some people suffer from a form of financial anorexia in that they feel they never have enough money. No matter what anyone tells them (including their financial planner), they do not believe they have enough. It’s a depletion of joy, really.
There was a remarkable documentary I watched last night about two 9/11 widows who started an organization that provides aid to widows in Afghanistan (www.beyondthe11th.org). One of the Afghan women asked to see photos of their (American) homes and the one American woman said she felt ashamed because she had so much and these women had, quite literally, nothing. It got me thinking about how some people choose to focus on what they don’t have rather than on what they do have. Despite the sorrow these Afghan women have known and the hardships they face daily, they all smiled as the American women spoke to them and all expressed their sympathy for the loss of their husbands.
Studies have shown the power of our thoughts. Whatever you focus on grows, whether positive or negative. I suppose focusing on the thought that you don’t have enough merely gives you more of the feeling that you don’t have enough. What a crappy spiral.
I started following Leo Babuata and his blog www.zenhabits.net. He has reduced his possessions to only 50 items. I love that and started seriously purging my house yesterday (so much for a day of rest) including a bag of pinecones I’ve collected over the years (does anyone else collect pinecones? I think they’re so beautiful, but I have too many. If you want them, let me know). Contrast that against watching the tv program “Hoarders: Buried Alive,” and you see a clear argument for simplicity, but it’s not so easy because so many of our possessions have emotional components. Thankfully one of my best friends gave me permission to give away two of my deceased mother’s purses that I knew I’d never use (despite my penchant for purses). As I did, I realized how few things I really need and that removing these excess items from my home opened up room for what matters and what I want in my home: my family and friends.
I’m not sure how, but it’s interesting that this post started out addressing feeling like you don’t have enough and finished with thoughts about having too much.
“Whoever loves money never has enough money; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10
Photos courtesy of ClipArt.