I used to do a lot of things because I thought I had to.
On my way home I would swing by Target and look for cute tops and then I would look for cute things to match my cute tops.
When I told people that I cleaned houses for a living I would feel shame for having a “menial” job. And when I had big dreams I would squash them because no one ever gets their dreams and I needed to be more responsible to pay the bills.
The problem was that I wasn’t doing these things because I wanted to. I was believing the lies our consumer society tells us.
But I don’t believe them anymore.
What is a Consumer Society?
I’m sure you have heard that we live in a consumer society before. It means that our economy is driven by consumerism in America and many other nations. But what does that really mean?
Well, think about it in relation to eating. When you eat something you consume it. You take it into yourself. It becomes part of you or you pass it on.
Now, a consumer society rests on the idea that people will always need to consume things, which is partially true. We all need to consume food, clothing, gas for our cars, houses, blankets, and the list goes on and on.
The problem is a consumer society is built on the idea that you will never even pause in your consumption… you will keep consuming like you are in a hot dog eating contest for the rest of your life! And they don’t care how many times you throw up, as long as you keep eating those hot dogs!
Here are 4 lies we should reject right now:
1. The Consumer Society Tells You That You Always Need More
Remember, as long as you live in a society that thrives on consumerism, you are never allowed to stop consuming. You will never ever have enough and there will always be a new product that will make your life better.
Is that the truth though? Maybe you are stuffed to the gills. Your house is full and your storage unit is too. Your stuff is not making you happy but you still end up shopping in your spare time.
You can avoid the effects of consumerism by fostering contentment.
When you realize that you have enough, you will start to avoid shopping for more and more. Your money will stay in your pocket, your house will not get any fuller, and you will be happier in the long run.
2. Your Personal Worth is Tied to Money and Things
Another lie that our consumer society tells us is even more insidious. Consumerism has formed us from our youth to expect that we need certain external markers of success. Your worth as a human depends on it.
If you have a nice new vehicle, fancy name-brand clothes, and a house that is unreasonably large, you are a valuable and important person.
If however you, like me, have a used car, normal clothes, and a “menial” job, something must be wrong with you.
To this end, people go into huge amounts of debt, get stuck in careers they hate, and buy tons of stuff they don’t even have the time to enjoy. And it’s not even because they want to impress others. It’s because of the tiny voice in their head telling them that their worth is tied to what they own.
But that’s not the truth. Like a “diamond in the rough,” you are valuable. I am valuable. Our value is not defined by what we own but rather by how we treat others and what we do for them. Our lives have value regardless of what we do or do not own.
3. You Need to Keep Up With The Joneses to Fit In
Consumerism thrives on competition. If you feel like you need to buy the newest phone and coolest car because your friends are doing that then the consumer society has you right where they want you.
That’s why consumerism in America works so well. Because we are all trying to keep up with the Joneses.
The American dream is that everyone who works hard enough will thrive, but we have turned thriving into conspicuous consumption. What that means is that the Joneses are buying stuff to show off and what you don’t see is the enormous amount of debt they are accruing in the process.
Do you really have to keep up with the Joneses? Is competitive consumerism actually going to make you happy? Well, no one talks about when the Joneses file bankruptcy or get a divorce… but we have all seen it.
Falling prey to the trap of buying things because you want to show off will not bring you happiness or the life you really want. It’s just another lie that is told to us to fuel consumerism in America.
4. Bigger is Always Better
Let’s face it, our consumer society has always told us that we need more stuff and bigger houses because it benefits the economy. If people are constantly outsizing what they own, they will always need to buy more.
If your house gets too cluttered buy a bigger one, if your neighbor buys a nice truck buy a nicer one, and if you want a hamburger why not make that huge too!
But is bigger always better? No.
It’s left us with fat waistlines, cluttered houses, empty wallets, and overflowing landfills. The more we have to take care of the more stressed we feel and the less time we have to be with our loved ones.
In the end, you can believe the lie of our consumer society that bigger is always better, or you can simplify your life, reduce your possessions, and focus on what matters. If you choose minimalism over consumerism you will have less stress and a more meaningful life. That’s because more of an okay thing can actually be a bad thing.
Will You Believe The Lies Our Consumer Society is Telling You?
Now is the time for you to decide what road you will travel on. Will you believe the lies that our consumer society tells us that take you down a freeway of empty purchases that clutter up your home and don’t give you satisfaction?
Or instead, will you avoid the negative effects of rampant consumerism and become part of the movement toward slower more mindful consumerism? Will you simplify your life so you can enjoy it more?
It’s up to you.
About the Author: Jessalynn Jones writes her blog Doable Simplicity to help you simplify your life. She wants to help you make the minimalist lifestyle a way of life that brings you joy and freedom as you reach your big picture goals!