A couple years ago, I was at a coffee shop with an acquaintance, exchanging family war stories. We were sitting there comfortably, carrying on about our in-laws when all of a sudden, in one single aside, she said it.
“My mother-in-law is just one of these people who is so concerned about her appearance all the time. It really bothers me that she is so materialistic, no offense.”
In my shock, I tried to manifest a look that said, “Oh, of course -- none taken,” and the conversation quickly moved on.
Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled at the comparison. It’s not easy to hear that someone views you in such a way that diminishes your interests in life to just things, especially when your heart cares so deeply and desperately about people.
Many years of reflection have finally brought me to a place where I realize and accept the fact that we, as humans, are undoubtedly and intrinsically linked to material goods. Just as I believe that we were created by God and are thereby connected to Him and one another, so do I believe that we are connected to the goods of our own creation. And just as we do, the goods that we create have the power to impact this world both positively and negatively.
The dual influence of material goods of course deals with responsible manufacturing, consumerism, disposal & recycling practices, but I also see its impact in much broader reaches. In my life’s journey, I continue to find that the goods we surround ourselves with have an enormous impact on our psyches and consequently, our individual impacts on the world as a whole.
In my work as a professional organizer, I see the negative and positive of material goods every day in the lives of our clients. Many times, our clients have suffered great tragedies and have turned to material goods to soothe their pain. Each individual item was selected because it reminded them of a little piece of good in themselves; brought some small amount of joy; represented a dream for themselves still to be realized or the potential for a better day, a better world, and a life more worth living. All of these individually are great dreams, until together the literal things overwhelm our clients’ environments and inhibit their ability to live their best lives. Our goal is to help them get to a place where they are still surrounded by things that they love, but in a balanced way that reflects their true selves and enables them to achieve their life’s true goals. Interior Design even further enhances these goals, by helping create spaces which inspire and energize them to go out into the world and live out their purpose on earth.
In my own home, I repurpose used pieces to the best of my ability to conserve the earth’s resources, but arrange them and tweak them in ways that reflect my personal style and nourish my soul so that I can go forth and love others to the best of my ability. My wardrobe is ¼ of the size of the average American woman’s, but I try to spend time and dress myself in ways that make me feel confident so that I can give more of myself to others.
Yes, appearances and things are important to me, because people are important to me. I show love to myself and others by helping them manage their material goods and create spaces that nourish their souls. Call me materialistic.