We sure do live in a consumer-ridden society.
You likely can’t go 5 minutes without seeing an ad on Facebook, a billboard ad, or a TV commercial, that tells you what you need to consume to live a better life.
You’re not a badass tough guy if you don’t have this gigantic truck that can tow an airplane… You’re not model sexy if you don’t wear this perfume… You won’t have these abs if you don’t put a crazy wrap thing on your stomach! (that wrap one always makes me LOL…)
We’re literally brainwashed by this stuff every single day of our lives. It’s no wonder that we are the way that we are. Don’t be alarmed if you’re in an all-consuming mode, it’s understandable.
We’re here today to talk about how we can fix that.
We’re here to talk about how we can start living bigger with less.
Shifting Our Perspective
When we shift our perspective, the whole game changes.
If you think about it: what truly makes you happy? What fills your cup?
- Human connection, love, spending time with those that you love and feeling loved back
- Authentic belonging – not belonging to a group because you own a really cool motorcycle, but because you have a great personality and those people genuinely like you
- Experiencing the world, traveling
- Getting out in nature, taking in the beautiful, breathtaking scenery
- Making memories with those that you love
- Giving, and the feeling of making a difference in someone’s life or the world
- Gratitude for the things that you have
Do you see on this list, a big house, for instance?
I’m not saying that having a big house is bad, but prior to purchasing said house take a good look: is this adding to my life, or do I want it for external reasons? Am I buying this house for me and my/my family’s enjoyment, or am I doing it to show people that I can afford this big house?
Deeper Into Debt
When you’re spending lots of money on dumb stuff, you generally don’t really have that money before the purchase is made. This is where debt comes in. Debt leads to more stress, more issues, and more unhappiness. Most of the time these purchases are made on a credit card, on a payment plan, or with a loan.
Using the money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need is a vicious cycle. It can lead you down a path of dissatisfaction and regret.
Who Are You Trying To Impress?
Often times, if you really get down to it, the person or people you are trying to impress are people that you actually don’t even like. Ask yourself who these people are, and why you think you need to portray a certain self to them.
Do they make you feel inadequate? Do they heckle you if you don’t have the latest-and-greatest? If these people are ones that you call friends, you need to reconsider who your friends are.
Practicing gratitude is extremely important if this is going to work. You really need to start appreciating what you already have, and stop worrying about what you don’t have. Try writing in a journal daily about the things you are grateful for. Do it while you eat breakfast in the morning, every single day.
You’ll probably find that most of the things you’re grateful for do not include “the 20 different fancy buttons that I have in my truck” (that you probably don’t use, but paid $2,000 extra for) rather, “I’m grateful for a reliable vehicle that can get me from point A to point B.”
It Can Be A Struggle
My husband and I share a car, which works great because although it’d be simpler if we had two, we have agreed that having one is totally doable for our current lives. We don’t want to spend the money on another, and we figure we’d be spending a lot more on gas & maintenance if we had another one anyway.
This car we do own is the most basic and stripped-down model of it’s kind. It has little dents all over it because we bought it hail-damaged, which made it a lot cheaper. We call him Mr. Dimpleton.
The point is, we got an excellent deal on an almost new car that is extremely reliable because we weren’t concerned with the bells and whistles of the car. We understand that the $5,000 we saved from not buying a fancier car can now go towards our savings (which leads to greater security and a better future) or a super mega awesome trip! And, added bonus, no debt.
It can get extremely irritating only having one vehicle, but I try to be grateful for it. Like when my husband has to bring me to and from work because he needs the car for the day. I really am grateful for only having one car because that’s extra time I get to spend with him that I wouldn’t usually see him. I’m also grateful because I don’t have to drive myself to work in the morning (when I’m usually really tired) and home from work at night (when I’m also usually really tired – I work 12 hour shifts don’t judge me 😉 ), I can just ride along not worrying about driving.
Ways To Reduce Negative Consumerism-y Influence:
- Get rid of the people that make you feel like you need a certain brand of shoes to be worth anything. If you can’t get rid of these naysayers (such as family members), minimize your time with them. If they value that stuff, they’re probably not good people that add value to your life anyway.
- Try to limit your time on social media. I know that personally, Instagram really makes me feel like I need to better myself in some superficial way. Staying off of it or unfollowing people that make you feel lesser-than is super helpful.
- Quit online shopping. Unless you truly do need something. Quit browsing the web for things you don’t need. You’re GOING to come across something you want. Then you’re most likely going to buy it because you’re emotions are telling you “hell yeahhhhhhh it’ll make me so happy if I buy that!” That happiness is very temporary.
- Don’t go to the store unless you have to. Browsing the Dollar Section at Target should not be one of your hobbies. You WILL buy crap you don’t need. And if you’re anything like I used to be, you’ll buy a lot of it.
Pursue Things That Matter
Embracing what life is truly about is so important. Listening to what advertisements and people on Instagram tell you will most likely leave you criticizing yourself and feeling less-than. Finding the things that truly make you happy and the things that fulfill you is really what it’s all about. We need to really take a look at the “stuff” we have or want and ask ourselves why. Start living with less, and you’ll start living well!
So get outside, help a person in need, and quit buying unnecessary stuff. 🙂