Are You a Hoarder? What Your Collection Says About You
While many people who wouldn't be diagnosed as hoarders have collections, as a feng shui consultant I find that when someone has a collection of any kind, the same mechanism is often at work. For example, if a grown woman has a large doll collection, it's likely that her inner child is making up for lost play time, or that (as a child) she in some way felt that she didn't get the love and attention that she desperately craved.
I don't mean to suggest that collections are always indicative of an imbalance: some people really do collect just for the joy of collecting. (This is especially true when one's collection is tastefully diminutive and doesn't overrun whole parts of one's home.) But I do suggest that it can be emotionally and psychologically healthy to examine the reason(s) for your attraction to the objects you collect. Often, if you examine the root of the issue, you'll discover that it is something that could use a bit of healing. By taking conscious steps to heal the issue, you may find yourself wanting to release or gently pare down the collection. But that doesn't need to be the objective.
Of course, everyone is different. While one man may collect fishing poles as a manifestation of unacknowledged grief about his father's death, another may collect them because he doesn't let himself relax enough and the fishing poles become physical reminders of leisure. Still, you might take a look at the list below of common collection categories to clue in on the emotional reasons for your (or a loved one's) collection.
A Specific Design or Theme
When you love finding things with a certain motif -- like cows, trees, butterflies, or lilies -- it's important to look at your relationship with this image throughout your life. When did your relationship with this image start? How does the image make you feel when you look at it? What does it symbolize to you? Y
ou might find that the image fills a certain need, such as conjuring up a childhood memory, or evoking a feeling that is lacking from your life. Once you discover what the image does for you, ask yourself how you can bring this into your life in a more substantial and tangible way. For example, if trees remind you of the exhilaration of being in nature, perhaps you can commit to hiking once a week, or sit outside more often.
You might also look at the archetypal associations with this symbol: cows represent nourishment and docility for example, while butterflies represent freedom, transformation, and rebirth. So if you collect butterflies, you might ask yourself where you don't feel free in your life, and/or what part of you is ready to transform or be reborn?
Toys, Dolls, or Figurines
I have found that when an adult collect toys of any kind, there is usually a wounded and unhealed aspect of her inner child. In fact, collecting toys is often a very healthy instinct, as it's a way of giving presents to one's inner child in order to help her feel loved. Still, it's important to acknowledge what's going on so that we can take more mature, concrete steps toward healing the issue.
Hats, Shoes, or Other Fashion Elements
If you wear lots of hats and shoes, that's generally not a collection. Lots of hats and shoes that you never wear (or otherwise use, e.g. if you are a costume designer) are either clutter or a collection, depending on your relationship with them. I find that collections of things like hats, shoes, or jackets can often be related to a desire to be something other than oneself, or a need to "put on" aspects of your personality that are not really you. This can stem from a lack of confidence, self-esteem, or self-love.
There are many different varieties of antiques to collect, but generally speaking, antique collections can indicate a desire to return to a "simpler time." The collector harbors an idealized view of the past in some way, and by surrounding herself with antique items, she tries to escape the stress of the present by returning to the past.
Family Heirlooms or Hand-Me-Down Collections
When a large collection of family heirlooms is present, guilt is often involved - i.e., you don't want to get rid of something because you feel like getting rid of it would be a personal insult to your ancestors. Alternately, family heirlooms or hand-me-down collections can point to family "baggage" that has been passed down through the family line.
If you have a decorative mask collection, chances are, the question "Who am I?" is a fundamental aspect of your inner dialogue. Mask collections can also signify a fear of revealing yourself and expressing emotional vulnerability to others.
Shot Glasses, Magnets, or Mugs
The souvenir variety of collection is fine as long as it doesn't get out of hand. Often, however, people end up with a sloppy number of magnets on the fridge or a whole cupboard full of shot glasses. This can sometimes simply be the result of a habit, or an inability to allow and be present with the experience (the vacation or trip to the casino or whatever). In either case, when the desire to purchase yet one more useless coffee mug hits, it's important to take a deep breath and come into the present moment. Then ask yourself: is this really necessary? Can I still enjoy this vacation and moment even if I go home without the coffee mug?
Around the Web
- What Drives Men Away and What Attracts Them - YourTango
- Bill Clinton: It's Still the Economy, Stupid - The Daily Beast
- Do You Want to Know When Your Friends Run Into Your Ex? - The Frisky
- Would You Marry Someone Who Didn't Have a Job? - The Gloss
- And the City That Has the Most Sex Is ... - The Stir, CafeMom
- 3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Makeup Sweat-Proof This Summer - BellaSugar