The Myth of Ownership
“You have a garden. If you ever get sad that you don’t have a garden of your own, remember that you have hundreds of beautiful gardens all over the city and all over the world. Try to erase the language of “want” from your head. You have everything you need.” – Jaime Morrison Curtis
The myth of ownership is short and simple and looks something like this ….
“If you own ___________, you will be ______________”
For example …
- if you own your own home, you will be a responsible adult.
- If you own a pair of skinny jeans, you will look skinny.
- If you own the brand name handbag you’ve been dreaming about, you will finally be happy.
- If you own a brand new pair of skis, you will be faster.
- If you own a car, you will be safe and comfortable and can go wherever you want in life.
- If you own the right shirt, people will like you and think you are cool.
- If you own the latest in technology, you will be smarter.
- If you own the best face cream, you won’t get older.
- If you own the right things, you will be happy and loved.
The only truth in ownership is that if you own something, it’s yours to take care of and pay for every day. It’s not a long-term solution, the answer to your prayers or a life changing event.
Ownership begins with a purchase or investment of money. You make a down payment, swipe a little plastic or pay with your hard-earned cash. After a momentary, “I got it, it’s mine” high, you start paying for your ownership again. You invest your time taking care of the item, your energy thinking about it, protecting it and worrying about it and then you often invest more money upgrading it, insuring it and taking care of it.
The Big Myths
Let’s start with the silliest myth of all. The myth of home ownership. We bought our home in 2005 and here are some of the stories we told ourselves.
- If we own our own home, it will be less expensive than renting.
- If we own our own home, we will be making a great investment.
- If we own our own home, it will be ours. (pretty sure the bank owns more of our home than we do)
- If we own our home, we will be secure, responsible, successful.
We bought our home with the best of intentions, bought into all of the myths and learned that none of them were true. We are happy living in our home, but we could be happy almost anywhere.
I thought I would always have a car payment and a car of my own, not realizing that while I had a car payment, I didn’t really own a car .. just the responsibility that came with it. The myths of car ownership include:
- A used car isn’t reliable
- I deserve something comfortable
- The new car smell lasts forever
- A good-looking car will make me more successful
- It’s only $300 a month
The investment of a car is much higher than the monthly payment. Between insurance, maintenance, registration, gas, and parking, the actual cost of the car or car payment is only a fraction of the true cost of car ownership.
The right stuff
Stuff without expectation, emotion and high hopes is just stuff. Think about the things you tell yourself about stuff …
- If I had the right suitcase, I would travel more.
- If I had the right table, I would entertain more often and have more friends.
- If I had the right workout shirt, I would go to the gym on a regular basis.
- If I had the right phone, I’d be more productive.
- If I have the right shoes, people will think I’m powerful, sexy, and confident.
- If I buy the right stuff, I will fit in and they will love me.
Take away the myths and you can give more freely, worry less and purchase something with intention and purpose instead of how you think it will make you feel, look, or be. You aren’t your stuff and it will never make you more lovable. Give people a chance to love you for you.
What if we worried less about ownership and more about cultivating?
What if instead of buying things with such a strong focus on ownership and fulfilment, we purchased things when we needed them and passed them on when we didn’t. What if we borrowed and shared more? And most importantly, what if we found happiness in something other than stuff?
Instead of owning stuff, cultivate …
Understanding the myth of ownership doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy things, or that buying something, even a home is a bad decision, but when you do buy, remove the myth and expectation. Loosen your grip and share your stuff or give it to someone who needs it more. Sell and give it away when it stops having purpose in your life. If it doesn’t fit, has expired, is broken, or is from a fantasy life, let go.
When the myth is gone, so is the attachment and all of the stress and investment that comes with it. Without it, you are free.
Once you reject the myth of ownership you can fully embrace hundreds of beautiful gardens all over the city and all over the world.
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