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Right from childhood, we are attracted to things that we can call our own, stuff like clothes, toys, bags, and books, later morphing into adult toys like cars, jewellery, furniture, Playstations and iPhones.
These possessions become our extension and eventually our legacy.
Being happy with material goods peaks during the formative years, when new experiences make the teenager’s already fragile self-esteem fluctuate. A sense of self-worth and respect makes them less prone to attachment towards materialist objects.
Pre-teen girls identify so much with material objects like clothes, that if they exchange it with each other, it feels that they have shared their identity.
Wearing luxury clothes has social benefits, as a study shows it helps in getting a job or soliciting money for charity, and much like a uniform can communicate about one’s membership or affiliation to certain clubs, groups, or sports teams.
The loss of material possessions often comes as a form of death to many, as many victims of theft or mugging feel a certain psychological loss, which is greater than the financial value of the stolen item.
Many also see the disposal of possessions as a liberating feeling full of closure and growth, as they finish a chapter of their lives and start another.
As the world goes increasingly digital, our online identity becomes the primary way to tell the world about our possessions, likes, dislikes and desires.
Our self has extended itself in our digital possessions, which create the same kind of attachment as older people have with physical objects.
Holding on to one’s belongings, when taken to the extreme, becomes a serious problem of hoarding when the owners are reluctant to ever part with their collectables.
Hoarding disorder is a growing problem and can be the reason for fire hazards and even other mental disorders stemming from the clutter.
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