Nearly every night before bed, I give thanks for what I think is truly important. I came across this graphic and it says everything for which I’m grateful and vocalize to myself so often. I started to wonder how many people take pause on a daily basis just to be thankful for what they do have.
Sadly, we Americans (and increasingly, the rest of the “civilized” world), are told that we should have, and deserve, “More! Bigger! Faster! Better!” We should be in possession of the biggest TV screen, the newest cellular phone, the flashiest vehicle and designer shoes and clothing. The banks tell us that we can “afford” bigger houses than what we really need. The frequency with which we’re told that what we already possess isn’t “good enough” is alarming.
The constant barrage of being told we need “improvement” in all things isn’t just about material goods either; for years we’ve seen how even our relationships with friends, lovers, spouses and everyone else is in need of an upgrade. Your husband lost his hair? Get someone who has some. Your wife needs a push-up bra because she isn’t as perky as she used to be? Trade her in for a younger model with tits the size of her head. Your friends like to hang out at home, order in pizza and watch movies but you want to go out to the bar? Get new, livelier friends!
Rather than see the benefit of everything and everyone that we already have in our lives, we listen to those advertising gurus whose words bewitch us into thinking that what we have isn’t good enough. We believe them, shooting ourselves in the foot emotionally, financially or both, by trying to “succeed” in life; by getting the biggest, better, newer, faster whatever it is that we somehow have been tricked into believing that we need.
All of this isn’t to be mistaken as anti-consumerism, I do believe in purchasing things that are needed, sometimes even things that are wanted. I also don’t believe that people should stick in relationships that still aren’t working even after trying all manner or methods to create a mutually beneficial partnership. Everyone deserves to be happy, but that’s the crux of this puzzle, are you truly happy with what you have or do you believe all the hype telling you that “you’ll be happier when you have” the latest, greatest “thing”?
What is so awful about that really comfortable pair of jeans that are only slightly worn that you have to replace them (again)? Do you really need the dress on the clearance rack that is just going to hang in the back of your closet for a year until you clean out and ask yourself why you even bought it in the first place? Are your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s/wife’s/husband’s/lover’s foibles and mannerisms so detestable that you can’t move past them and see all the good they have and do?
I get teased from time to time for wearing jeans that are going on three or more years of wear; the fact that I’m wearing a pair like that right now, worn-through right thigh and all, bespeaks how comfortable they are. I’ve a flannel shirt going on twenty years of age, but it’s comfortable notwithstanding its near-threadbare state. My husband has habits and mannerisms that sometimes drive me up the wall, but he makes me laugh almost daily. My friends all have idiosyncrasies that get to me from time to time, but I can get over those things. I don’t need to replace things things because I enjoy them, they work for me; I want them.
I chose to be happy with what I had, and be grateful for those people and things that I kept. I could look at my small house and think that it “tells” everyone that I’m not successful, but I look at it and I’m truly thankful that it’s small and only takes me a few hours to clean – and I’m talking CLEAN. I could lament having vehicles that are used or high mileage, but they work, are reliable and comfortable.
I could bemoan the none-too-flashy diamond engagement ring that I wear that the jewelry store employees remind me of how I “can upgrade to a bigger, more impressive diamond” every time I get it cleaned. My response of, “I don’t need a ‘bigger, more impressive diamond’ in this ring. I like this ring”, steals the twinkle from their eyes. I won’t say I don’t enjoy looking at the “bigger, more impressive” diamond rings, or the faster, flashier cars or even that I’m not tempted by the newest gadgets to hit the market. But I don’t need them.
I am not overcome with a feeling of “having made it” or personal success when I do make a purchase. I love my family, my friends and I want what I have. I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the clothes on my back and the food I get to eat. I’m grateful for my loved ones, near and far, and would much rather spend time and/or money spending time and/or money with them than on some material possession that has no meaning.
Now I put to you, my amused Readers, have you fallen for the trap that is the constant upgrading to the newest/biggest/best/greatest for all you possess, things and people?Image Courtesy of: http://daves-words-of-wisdom.blogspot.co.uk/