"Spend money on stuff and we guarantee you will think at least twice as highly of yourself."
Study results show that individuals with low self-esteem desire more consumer goods, and indulge in impulsive and compulsive shopping more often.
While shopping can give a short lived self-esteem boost, it is too often replaced with feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, and even lower self-esteem. It is a vicious cycle that marketers take full advantage of while spending billions to convince us we need even more stuff.
For all the ages a pre-occupation with material goods has been looked down upon as leading us away from our true purpose.
And for a good reason. We can not be healthy while constantly wanting more. We can not be happy while feeling out of control.
There are things that we can use to protect ourselves and the planet against the many forces of materialism and market manipulation.
1. Practice Self-discipline
- do not create excuses for shopping, take control of what and when you buy things
- remember times that you have successfully overcome urges to purchase things you don't need
- give yourself a pat on the back for refusing to be a consumer drone
- learn to enjoy not shopping more than shopping
2. Recognize the Scam
- hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year to find ways to make us buy more
- we are trained to be consumers from an early age by parents, friends and abusive marketers alike
- consumerism may be good for sellers, investors and the economy, but at the same time is detrimental to shoppers, not to mention the planet
- no one likes an unfair contest, or being duped, but these are the modes of operation for people who want you to buy things you don't need
3. Recognize the challenge
- advertisers, marketers, and sellers of superfluous crap are not your friends and are not concerned about making you a healthier, happier human
- salespeople are out to get your money: think twice, or more, about giving it to them
- any one that tells you to buy things you don't want or think are necessary are not doing you any favours
Consumerism and shopping are self-esteem dead ends. They are stories with bad endings, but they can be changed.
What really feels good is having the discipline to say no.
“Self respect is the fruit of discipline: the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.”
- Abraham Heschel