“Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit.” ~ Hosea Ballou
How much are you paying for your lifestyle, for your ‘stuff’?
Does your stuff really make you happy?
How close does your lifestyle reflect your true values?
Do you sometimes feel you are on a never-ending treadmill of buying more stuff, trying to find a place to put the stuff, dealing with all the clutter of the stuff that was supposed to make you happy, trying to find the money to pay for all the stuff, dealing with feelings of overwhelm and helplessness around the sheer volume of it all, and feeling so bad you comfort yourself by buying more stuff?
We all succumb to the messages of Madison Avenue (or wherever the ad agencies hang out these days). Think about this: companies spend billions on figuring our how to get our money. They employ people whose sole job it is to uncover what tactics will get us to buy their products.
They do this in a number of ways: making us feel we lack something in ourselves that their product will make up for – the “right” clothes, makeup, shaving cream, etc.; that people will think better of us if we only have this thing – impressive car, home, kitchen cabinets, panty hose. A particularly blatant ad stated outright that it wasn’t a person’s clothing or car that showed the world who they were: it was their watch!!
Seriously? My watch proves my value? I don’t need to be a kind, honest, responsible person?
Of course, sometimes they have a product that will actually solve a problem we have – it’s good to know there are quality replacement windows out there when ours are cracked and drafty. But to watch the ads on TV, it would seem our chief problem is a severe lack of prescription drugs. Which they happen to know how to fix. With lots of our money.
By and large, advertising professionals are quite successful at what they do. Look around your house: how much of the stuff you have do you really need? And what amount is so much extra, sitting in accusing piles waiting to be decluttered?
And what is that stuff telling you about yourself, really? How much has it contributed to the financial strain you (and so many, many of us right now) may be feeling?
How much of the clutter in our country was paid for with credit? And were the fleeting feelings of pleasure we got when we bought so much worth the pain we’re feeling now?
Maybe it’s time for all of us to get off the consumer treadmill.
Picture the simplicity of a decluttered home and decluttered finances: no debt and money in the bank, room to breathe, freedom to live in the present instead of taking care of the excesses of the past.
How much is that worth?