Have you ever wondered why we, in the West, are so preoccupied with consuming goods? Keeping up with ‘the Joneses’ is so widespread at the moment that we even have an idiom for the phenomenon!
Where are the dishes and sofas that used to last people a lifetime before being replaced? Many of us have parents who valued timeless pieces of furniture or decor and didn’t see the need to replace them every few years. They lived with the philosophy of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and the Post-World War II attitude of ‘Make do and Mend’.
It seems that with the advent of widespread television and plastic ‘Made in China’ goods, (1930s and 50s respectively, if you’re interested), goods became more and more replaceable and less likely to last beyond the 2-year guarantee window.
How can we steer away from the trend that means we have cupboards full of toys, clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, electronic goods- you name it; houses full of new decor that is replaced every few years following the latest trends; phones that are constantly updated; brand new cars (some of which are paid for monthly and then replaced) and to top it all off, shopping centres that are still full of people buying more, more, more? It really is something to think about.
When my daughter was younger, I remember talking to her about the perils of consumerism and marketing before a certain shopping trip. I reminded her what we were shopping for and told her not to get sidetracked while we were out. At the time I thought it was a good way of making her think before she began asking me for everything that caught her eye on the trip. (This was a trip before pocket money and budgeting were introduced!).
“These people want us to think we haven’t got enough. They want us to replace our things with new shiny things. They want us to buy, buy, buy while we are here. That’s how they make lots of money’ I said.
About 20 minutes into the shopping trip, I spotted a beautiful dress in a shop window and backtracked to have a closer look, momentarily dazzled by the sale price tag.
‘But mummy, they’re just making you think it’s a bargain and that you need it! Remember, you’ve got plenty at home!’
Slap, bang, what a lesson taught to me by a (then) 6 year old! Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for buying new dresses, it’s a very important part of self-care and crucial to be happy in one’s own skin, but accumulating dress after dress with no real purpose is something we should really try to avoid.
John Naish writes in his book ‘Enough’ :
We have created a culture that has one over-riding message- we do not yet have all we need to be satisfied. The answer, we are told, is to have, see, be, do even more. Always more.
OK, what is the solution? I hear you cry. Well, dear readers,
‘We have to appreciate the unprecedented wonders now at our feet’.
So, with this in mind, I propose a plan to be mindful everyday of what we have got. A plan to be grateful. Let’s try to improve our mindset and ‘develop a sense of enough’.
I’ll start by listing 3 things I’m grateful for today.
I guess it’ll be easy enough to begin with, but I’ll endeavour to write 3 new things at the end of each blog post as a reminder to myself first, to be grateful for what we already have.
I’m grateful for:
- My family- immediate, extended, big and small.
- A roof over our heads
- Food in our bellies every night
Maybe we could write a list of things we need and take it with us when shopping. Also, repeating this mantra to ourselves before a shopping trip might help:
‘I have enough of everything I want!’
I hope and pray that we remain grateful and try to practice ‘enoughism‘ and mindful consumerism for the rest of our days.
What do you think of ‘enoughism’? Is this idea new to you or are you already a mindful consumer?
Do you think listing the things we’re grateful for will help us?
Let me know what think in the comments below!
Peace and love,