Ah, the superimposing of contentment onto possessions. There’s a social disease for you.
It’s like an insatiability. A vicious (and perhaps viscous) unfulfilling loop where we mindlessly feed our hard earned rewards back into the furnaces of industry.
The best part of this is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that this connection is useful, is necessary. It’s not true. We’ve been manipulated.
We really just need to say no, to fight the conditioning that leads to false and shallow rewards. We need to step away from the furnace.
But how? Easy to say. Hard to do. It is after all a conditioned response, perhaps an addiction, and certainly a habit.
Let’s look at it like a habit. How do we break free for the conditioning of retail therapy?
The first step is to be ready to do some self-examination. To be honest about your motivations. To try and avoid rationalizations.
This will be hard. But the trick is to handle it one choice at a time, one interaction at a time. Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be.
Every time you go to buy something (let’s exclude consumable for now) have some questions you can ask yourself. A small checklist. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t buy anything ever, but that you can and should question the conditioning.
Here’s some possible questions:
- Why do I need to buy this?
- Is it because I am bored?
- Is it because I am unhappy right now?
- What is the purpose?
- Am I replacing something old or broken?
- Will I sell, give away or discard the old one?
- Is this a new need or desire?
- If it takes time, what activity in your life will it replace?
- What is likelihood you will actually persist in using it?
- This is where you have to be honest with yourself
Congratulation. Maybe you talked yourself out of buying something.
But, since this is a habit and you perform it for a reward, you still need the reward you were looking for if you don’t buy it. We all need rewards. We just need to get them from healthier and more sustainable efforts.
The reward, or need to feel good, can come from lots of sources. Try some of these.
- Exercise and get in the sun
- Volunteer and do charity work
- Spend time with loved one
- Get a massage
But at the end of the day the key is to be self-aware and make one choice at a time.