In the developed world the predominant school of thought is that you buy your identity. You buy a house, car, clothes, jewellery and a phone. This school of thought invests in the notion that these things define you and in a way, prop up an idea of who you are. It’s like putting on a show, you dress the stage and the stage is you. The more richly and elaborately you dress the stage, the more successful you appear to be. This way of thinking and being in relationship with the world is insane and unsustainable.
What is success? Do you define success by wealth? What is wealth? I am one of the wealthiest people I know, not because I ‘have it all’ but because I have everything I need. There is no grasping and longing for more. I’m not hungry for stuff. Material possessions are not who I am. And that’s why I’m wealthy – I’ve dropped the desire to acquire belongings as a means of self definition. When you are happy with what you’ve got, you no longer compare yourself to others. You no longer look at what others have and want it for yourself. You are free of greed.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have nice things. I have lots of beautiful things in my home. None of them cost very much. They are beautiful because they MEAN something to ME. That is where their value lies, in their intrinsic worth to me rather than an audience.
I have a theory about why material possessions never really make most people happy. It’s because they’re subconsciously buying them for an audience rather than for their personal gratification. So after the initial rush of actually buying whatever it is, they feel flat and unfulfilled. They feel like this because the item wasn’t really bought for them, it was bought to impress others and to portray an image to the outside world. So, on it goes, buying more and more stuff. But it’s never enough to plug the hole, the sense of emptiness, that lies at the core of so many people. Buying in this way never works because the things people really want can’t be found in any shop.
People, first and foremost, want to feel loved and safe. They want to wake up every morning without fear and anchored deeply in peace. We all want this above everything else. So why don’t more of us seek these qualities, if it’s true that this is what we really want? It’s all down to programming. We’ve been programmed since birth to believe that everything we want is out there in the world and in order to be happy, we’ve got to go out there and find these treasures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything we need for a blissful existence lies within us. We are all rich beyond our wildest imagining.
Just because everything of worth lies within us doesn’t mean it’s easy to claim the riches we were born with. Simple, yes. Easy, not necessarily. It can be a long and painful road to get to the point where we realise this for ourselves. A successful life is finding the key that unlocks this internal treasure trove. The key is always self-love.
Instead of trying to persuade the world that we are worthy of love, we need only convince ourselves that we are loveable. So the bottom line is we’ve got to embark on a love affair with ourselves. When we fall head over heels in love with ourselves, we simultaneously fall in love with the world and the world magically and inevitably follows suit.