The Meaning of Stuff

A young woman’s husband promised to buy her a brand new bedroom suite. To her, the furniture symbolized hope, safety, and love. Do you think it means that too? Would it make a difference if the furniture promise occurred with the young woman’s jaw wired shut and bruising still visible, as she dropped the case against her spouse responsible for her broken jaw?

Assigning meaning to stuff constitutes nothing new. It happens in a variety of relationships at birthdays, holidays, special events, during marriage dissolutions, while settling estate matters and in other legal and non-legal situations. Whether the thing exists in the form of pictures, electronics, jewelry, furniture or trinkets, people give items meaning. The chosen meaning determines the associated feeling. Feelings vary from warmth, tenderness, comfort, and joy to anger, frustration, mistrust and disappointment.

The lady with the broken jaw gave the bedroom furniture the meaning she wanted it to hold. Furniture itself means nothing. This week and in coming months people may feel overjoyed or disappointed with stuff. People may then believe whether a loved one, colleague, or friend gave generously or whether the giver listens. People may choose to embrace any gift as thoughtful, or assign a different meaning.

What meaning do you give to stuff? How does the chosen meaning make you feel? If you would like to feel differently about stuff, what thoughts do you need to choose? These thoughts may lead to deeper connection or further division.

During mediation or conflict coaching at Healing Truth, you will find space to speak your truth, consider needs, and create ideas for resolution. Truth does more than set you free. Truth heals.

Sherry Bruckner

Sherry Bruckner

A civil and family mediator, transformational coach, speaker, and trainer, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help transforming conflict and creating peace in your home, organization, or community.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.