Are you a stingy squirrel? Admit it, you’re a horrendous hoarder

There’s a big difference between saving so you’re cushioned for the day that disaster strikes… and hoarding. When it comes to your possessions, what have you squirrelled away for safekeeping that is no longer useful?

Pay close attention to the word useful.

I hate to admit it, but I’m a bit of a hoarder. Or at least, I used to be. I hold onto things out of sentimental value–even when they’re no longer of use. Sometimes I give stuff away and even when I do, I express how important the item is (or was) to me. All that changed when I walked past an antique shop a few weeks ago.

I have a tendency to think that things appreciate as they get older, but sometimes, it just ends up being worthless junk. Some things are collectors items, yes… But who in the world collects this stuff? That’s what I thought as I visited a secondhand shop that was stuffed with old stamps, old coins, old antique vases and lamps as well as all those other items that you think are worth something when, in fact, later generations have no idea what to do with it.

Heirlooms that cost a fortune–which were bought to be handed down–are described as ‘ugly’ by future generations. Worthy of a museum, perhaps, but definitely an eye sore that no one would ever want to wear. Old tables made of teakwood. Sure, the new stuff that gets made comes nowhere near as close when it comes to quality standards; but imagine having to actually sit and work on a desk from the 1800s.

If you’ve ever visited old shops–the ones that have been around for a while–it’s like entering into a time capsule where the clock stopped ticking a long time ago. Why do we hoard and hold onto these things?

Perhaps it was given to us as a gift. Maybe it was even an inheritance—a hand-me-down gift from the dearly departed. But when these ‘gifts’ stop being useful and are no longer relevant to meet our daily needs; then we have accumulated a lot of junk. And what do we ordinarily do with junk?

We toss it.

You could say the same for our memories. We learned something in school. We may even have excelled. You enter the workforce and realise that that’s not how the world works. Do we cling onto our old ideas and modalities of doing things? Of course, we don’t. We up skill ourselves so that we can remain competitive.

There is value in preserving the gems of yesterday. There is also value in letting go of what is no longer useful.

Long before we humans settled into civilised societies, we lived as hunters and gatherers–we all know that. But the squirrel is an unusual animal. It gathers… and hides. Squirrels, on average, spend a lot of time and energy in collecting enough food to sustain them through times of scarcity.

Unfortunately, most of what the squirrel stashes away ends up becoming useless as a food source because the seeds that they have planted literally become plants a few months later.

It reminds me of the very real lesson that while hard work, investments, financial planning and so on are essential for the achievement of our goals, we can end up hoarding–and holding up–a whole bunch of resources that we could have put to good use.

Money is a form of neutral energy. When you have more than what you need, you have a surplus. When you use that surplus to trade, you have a transaction. When we take and hide, we end up hoarding. Similar to the seeds that the squirrel can no longer eat, material objects that don’t have the potential to bring us (or anyone) joy are not worth having, keeping around or hiding.

When we gather, hide and hoard; we are being stingy with ourselves as well as others. People end up knowing that not only are we not givers, but we are the worst kind of takers on the planet. Not only do we not use what we have taken from others, we don’t let anyone else use it either.

A little treat now and then is well-deserved, especially if you have some surplus hanging around. If you spend your life hoarding every penny that you can save, you will at some point find yourself a miser with no friends.

So give away, sell or liquidate everything that you’re holding onto that you no longer need.

The Universe will thank you for releasing that no longer necessary energy–and it will make room for new life to form and flourish.

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