Stuff: Potted plants and picture frames and dish towels and nail polish and flashlights and blenders and toilet paper. We need stuff-things-in our lives, no doubt about it. And even beyond basic needs (like soap), there are a bunch of really useful things that bring joy and help us function at our best (like books). Stuff can be really awesome, and most of us know this, because we have a lot of it.
But often our never-ending search for more stuff gets a little….weird. We end up always craving more, because we buy into the myth that consumerism needs us to keep believing.
The myth is this: Our identity depends on us having the right stuff.
(it is a lie.)
The thing is, it feels like the truth. Consumer culture does a killer job of making sure we get that message a billion times a day: You need THIS so you can be MORE FULLY YOU. You are NOT ENOUGH on your own, but you will be COMPLETE when you BUY THIS.
When we put it that way, it sounds kinda ridiculous. And that’s because it is. The truth is that you are enough. Just because you’re you. The truth is that if you have a void in your soul for any number of reasons, more stuff isn’t going to help you, except to serve as a short-lived distraction.
Consumerism culture works because it knows that buying the right stuff doesn’t make you feel any more complete. But we don’t always consciously know that, because corporations spend billions to keep telling us WE NEED MORE STUFF TO FILL OURSELVES UP. They capitalize on the human condition of emptiness. They promise to fill us up with their product. It doesn’t work. And we keep buying, keep trying.
When we become aware of this crazy cycle, we can stop it. (Or, at least knowingly play along.) Let’s buy what we need and enjoy our things, but lets be mindful about why we are buying the things. Let’s not let consumerism keep manipulating us into beleiving their junk will fix us.
These days, I try to put my dollars into good companies and causes that I believe in. And when I find myself wanting a new Thing, I like to pause and check in with my motives, just to make sure I’m not mindlessly trying to fill some bottomless hole in my soul. From that place of self-awareness, I can feel good about why I’m buying something.
What about you? Do you believe you’re above advertising, like it doesn’t really affect you? Or do you see yourself being influenced by it? Do you ever find yourself buying stuff for the wrong reason? Leave your thoughts in the comments my loves!