- Before you commit to doing something, imagine yourself doing it. Does it energize you? If not, why not? If it doesn’t energize you, why are you doing it?
- Make a list of your relationships. For each one, spend a few minutes thinking and feeling the substance of it. Is it a relationship that is earning interest or costing energy? Remember that relationships have natural endings like everything else. Is it time to let any of them end?
- List all the things you do that make you dislike yourself. List all the things you do that make you feel proud of yourself. What is the percentage of each that you see in your monthly checkbook? Even if you can’t quit doing everything in list No. 1 start doing more of the things from list No. 2, and you’ll see your energy earnings grow.
- Before you purchase another thing, consider the maintenance “costs” that this thing will bring with it. How much time and space will it take up? Will maintaining the object energize you or cost you?
- How much are you spending (figuratively and literally) in storage fees, both in and outside your home? If something takes up room, it also sucks up energy. Take a notepad and go through your house. Look through and really see everything in your closets and drawers. How much of it do you actually use and enjoy? If you are not enjoying it regularly, it is costing you: Pass it on.
- Remember, empty space and open time are necessary for manifesting new things. If you are totally filled up (again, literally and figuratively) there will be no room for new dreams, energies and desires to come in.
Image Is Every “Thing”
We live in a culture that tells us repeatedly that if we can change ourselves externally, we will be happier. This leads us to focus excessively on, 1) how we look; and 2) the accumulation of “things.”
In many ways, these two considerations work in tandem. For example, if I’m feeling dissatisfied with my body or appearance, I may make a trip to the beauty parlor and spend several hundred dollars on beauty products. Or, if I feel frustrated about gaining a little weight, I might buy a new dress that I hope will help me feel sexy. If I’m just generally bummed out, I can always go shopping for something that will make me happy (men are famously prone to buying fast cars and motorcycles when insecurity sneaks up on them).
Of course, none of this will change the core reasons for my unhappiness, and no matter how many sexy lipsticks, low-cut dresses, and fast cars I own, I won’t feel sexy if I don’t care for and love my body/self/life in a deeper way.
The belief that we can buy our way out of unhappiness and anxiety creates a vicious circle: When we buy things, we have to pay for them. If our spending gets us into debt or financial stress, it further damages our self-esteem. As long as we believe that buying and having lots of things will translate to feelings of safety, power, and happiness, we are setting ourselves up for misery.
An even more insidious belief is that money can buy acceptance. It’s not at all unusual for people to expend a huge percentage of their resources in an effort to impress others, or to create experiences that will help others think well of them. Generosity is a fine value, but if it comes at the expense of one’s own financial stability, or it becomes a tool for buying and manipulating other people’s affections and admiration, that “generosity” is probably not coming from the right place (i.e., the joyful, spontaneous desire to share from a place of abundance). And if it’s not, it’s begging to be examined.
In Search of Satisfaction
We purchase and own things because we have a desire for their company. Our desire is what leads us toward our joy, and joy is achieved when we are truly satisfied with our choices and can celebrate them without reservation. The expression of our joy and gratitude helps us evolve, and also leads us to spontaneously share our happiness with others.
When we compromise our desires (because we decide we can’t afford them, don’t deserve them, or because we think it might create trouble or invite others’ judgment if we got them), we can never be satisfied. When we don’t experience satisfaction, we cannot get to joy. We never feel we have enough — much less enough to share with anyone else. Our life energy is diminished. And still, the desire persists.
Often, our unmet hunger goes unconscious, and leads us to accumulate all sorts of substitutions, pale imitations, and “consolation” prizes. But these never really do the trick. This is the meaning of that old saying: “You can get what’s second best, but it’s hard to get enough.”
When we compromise, bury or sell out our true desires, we tend to acquire more and more “substitute” things in an effort to achieve satisfaction. But acquiring more and more things requires money, energy, space, and maintenance. One day you may find yourself exhausted by the never-ending task of cleaning, dusting, and organizing a houseful of things that you never really desired in the first place.
If you compromise on something you want because you don’t believe you can afford it, and take the second-best thing instead, you will never achieve satisfaction.
Holding out for the best thing, on the other hand, accomplishes two objectives: First, it sends a message to your subconscious that you deserve to have what you desire; second, because it does demand a significant investment, and may require you to harness a great deal of energy to achieve, you will have to be fully committed to purchasing it. This helps ensure that the purchase represents your highest choice. (If you are just buying something as a “quick fix” to feel better, you will probably not be willing to spend an entire month’s salary on it.)
Once you have the thing you really want, the joy you receive from being in its presence each day will quickly translate into deposits in your energetic checkbook.