I watched a TV show two days ago called Life Stripped Bare, where a few people were literally stripped of their numerous possessions for 21 days, right down to the clothes on their backs. They were left naked and with absolutely nothing. They were allowed to take back only one item every day, so they had to choose carefully. I must say that I thought it a bit radical to take even their clothes and underwear from them, but it was funny to see them running down the streets in the nude in a bid to reach their containers where all their possessions had been kept.
The deeper I got into this programme, the more intrigued I became. During the 21 days, one of the participants eventually took her phone back and was reluctant to re-join the hype and overwhelming world that can be social media. After the experiment was over, she got rid of a lot of her possessions—things that she realised she didn’t need. She also deleted some of her social networks.
Life Stripped Bare reminded me of a 21-day fast from social media and all entertainment that I have taken part in on more than one occasion—of course, this show took it to the extreme. During that time, I focus on myself, invest in my faith—which is very important to me—, and I realise that I have a lot more time to do the things that social media often sucks from me. After this spiritual detox, I always feel as though a burden has been lifted off of my shoulders.
We live in a materialistic world where a lot of people’s pleasure lies in owning things. We just want, want, want. It’s in our nature to be this way, to be selfish. But we must have a balance. It’s not wrong to buy things or have social networks. But when spending starts to become an obsession, or when we realise that those ‘likes’ we receive from posting a picture makes us feel too good about ourselves, we need to take a step back and readjust. We can’t allow things to control us. We need to be in control.
I must admit that sometimes that feeling of wanting other people’s approval tries to creep up on me, but then I remind myself that I’m not giving others dominion over my life, because that’s exactly what you do when you rely on the approval of other people to make you feel good about yourself.
So, know who you are and be true to yourself, whether you have a lot at your disposal or you don’t. Your possessions don’t make you who you are.