THE PRICE WE PAY - HOW CONSUMERISM DULLS OUR SOULS
Updated: May 22
Whilst catchy advertising pollutes our minds, its direct result - consumerism - pollutes our environment.
With the shift towards produce imported from countries with cheaper labour the local production dried out, flooding our (super)markets with tons of stuff. Stuff which, without being pushed on to a potential buyer via never ending tricks up the sleeve of the marketing industry, wouldn’t otherwise sell. The so called bargains are making us believe that we couldn’t live without them, that we would be fools not to have them for such fantastic prices. Like the bounty hunters we cannot wait to show off our possessions snatched in sales, unaware of the price we are truly paying for them...
Cheap stuff seems of better value to us. Logically we think the less we pay the more we save. Delving deeper into the issue however, we learn about the long term effect of our compulsive spending. The unsustainability of our actions long term has a detrimental effect on our wellbeing and far reaching, purely destructive, repercussions on our inner and outer worlds.
The advertisers are cunning. They are driven by profits, having no interest in making our life better. They don’t care! The aim of the marketing game is to convince us that we really need its product because it adds a certain, very personal value to ourselves. If we are to untangle their tight strings and free ourselves from their control, we must question our impulses and distinguish a true need from a trendy extravaganza. Scrutinising our intentions, clearly dividing that we want for ourselves from that we want because of others. Purchases made out of boredom are meant to cheer us up when we feel empty. Stuff promissing us to look good, acceptable to the world so that we can finally show up in all our glory. Things we never knew existed but suddently cannot live without another day. Having becomes our new way of being. Shopping becomes our purpose we fill our free time with. Its like getting on a Ferris wheel which never stops. Up and down, round and round again. Our moves become predictable and we unable to leave...
Why do we get so attached, unable to let go? Why do brands appeal to us? What is the difference between price and value?
Owning stuff provides us with an illusion of a certain status, assuming greater social acceptance and respect. Having what others have [or more] makes us feel momentarily better about ourselves due to a sense of belonging amongst [or above] those who have it too. Which provides us with a false perception of inclusion and greater personal worth. On the other hand, not owning stuff others own is automatically perceived by the mind as uncool. We falsely view ourselves as less worthy, undesirable. What do humans fear the most? Rejection!
Value of a product is its true contribution, or benefit, to ourselves and the collective in both, short and long term.
Consumerism is all about short term gratification - a form of addiction to an illusion of happiness. Self-destructive in an unaware person long term, habitual shopping hooks its victim into an endless cycle of making money only to buy more of, or better, stuff. Because of an immediate access to stores via our ‘personal extensions’ , combined with the overwhelming amount of intrusive advertising flooding our screens every single minute, the willpower of our mind is in clear disadvantage against the hypnotic drowse of technology. Internet shopping works on the principle of getting a reward whilst scrolling, similar to a slot machine in a casino, only with a 24/7 access. Getting a shot of dopamine (the feel good hormone) once the thing we desire is located and purchased we are on the high. Our satisfaction shortly wears off but we know how to make ourselves feel good again...
Addicted to saying 'Yes!' to advertised suggestions, we get attached to stuff like our life depends on it. Sure 'a must have' will improve the quality of our life...? The same stuff then suffocates our precious living space, limits our freedom to do what we truly desire with our time, and it is steadily killing our planet. Our multiple purchases weight us down individually and collectively, costing us literally our habitat and its vitality, the vibrancy of our every day experiences and passion for life. Draining our perceived worth further into emptiness of that of a powerless zombie. Our priorities change. The vision we had for our life changes. Our relationships wither. The relationship with ourselves becomes inauthentic as the meaning of our life becomes keeping up with the lives of others and appearances.
To avoid humanity getting sadder and emptier, to start successfully clearing our world, we must begin to clear the illusions from our minds, detoxing our life from within. To live a life of meaning is to inspire others. Inspiration is an authentic desire and shift towards growth, not a destruction. Be it the destruction of our contribution to humanity (when our inauthentic wants crush our true desires) or the damage to our self-esteem (when our outer possessions diminish our intrinsic value).
Ask yourself the next time you are thinking to shop:
What is the benefit of what am purchasing to myself? Will my personal value as a human rise by having it at home? Imagine no one will ever know what you bought. How does it feel? If not good then you are not buying it for you!
Do I want this to feel better about myself? How long will my happiness last and is there another way to make me feel good? Start the process of swapping an unhealthy, destructive habit for a healthy one. Be creative and authentic with finding suitable alternative, reinforcing it 66 consecutive times (the number of repetitions it takes to create a new habit).
How often and how much do I use it? Is my need driven by a trend or originating from an external suggestion? Am I acting on an impulse here? Imagine you bought it. How did you dispose it after use and how did this impact the environment? Go another week without it to see the true impact on your day to day life. How does it feel knowing you didn't faul the nature? Share your experience and new realisations by starting a meaningful conversation with someone close to your heart. Change is uncomfortable. But the price we pay for our short term comfort far outweighs its deceptive value.
Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.
Copyright © 2020 Michaela Patel