My experience with consumerism and its direct effects.
“Did you run out of money during the move?”
I still have to laugh when I recall the statement made by an acquaintance during the viewing of our apartment. In this context, I often think of Plato’s saying:
The first and most precious goods of the soul are possessed when moderation dwells in them.
There is no more monstrous furniture standing around, no unnecessary frills and everything has its place as well as its function. It is now simply less. Especially the last two words kept me busy for a long time before I moved to Cologne. Before I took the step into self-employment, it was also the fear of losing my standard of living that kept me from taking the leap into the unknown much earlier.
Sometimes it seems like we live in a meritocracy where our only aspiration is escapism into the online world and the accumulation of possessions. In my opinion, both form a difficult conglomerate, as it can lead to commitment, dependence, and in the course of this, physical and psychological stress. Like most people, however, I am no saint, and so at some point I also fell into the consumer trap and advanced to become a shopaholic par excellence when my qualifications and thus my salary improved. I bought nice things and enjoyed them, even if only for a short time.
It was only over time that I felt the strain of doing these things and began to invest my money rather than “consume” it.
Those who own less have more room inside to give
At the same time, I cleaned out my apartment and, indirectly, my life. I wondered with every box where all these things came from and whether I had even consciously noticed their existence until now. Parting was easy: I sold, donated, gave away and disposed of.
I remember exactly what a liberating feeling I felt when I entered the new apartment unencumbered and knew that only selected individual pieces would be given a place here.
I don’t think much of the minimalism trend, as it is often misused to project a more positive image of oneself, which usually goes hand in hand with condemning others (non-minimalists). I am much more convinced that a mindful walk through one’s own home already makes one aware that one does not necessarily need most of the things in it and should bid them a fond farewell and give them a new home. So I rather like the attitude of slowly moving from the idea of affluent bourgeoisie to the society of sharing and being connected.
Without renunciation or compulsion, but as a kind of gift to one’s own well-being.
From more consumerism in private life to more fulfillment in business
In fact, I perceive a relief and harmony within me. I find it easier to take risks. I consume more consciously and notice exactly how excessive advertising and constant marketing creep into people’s minds like a disease.
This realization has also influenced my self-employment:
- Quality instead of quantity!
- Return to one’s own values and feelings, instead of external orientation and purpose rationalization!
The value of my work has come into focus much more consciously. I wanted to create something FOR my clients with my coaching and training, to support them to see their own happiness in life as the first priority and to help them to commit to their happiness and not to submit to the norms of society. I moved away from optimizing thoughts to improving my own personal and professional success by becoming aware of my own desires and needs.
Other perspectives and new ways in my life
Not only my personal, but especially my professional situation has improved significantly due to the change in my attitude towards consumption and possessions. It’s as if my energy has changed and suddenly things are flowing to me that I had to scramble for before. I am more relaxed, in a better financial position, have better time management and a much higher balance in my life. Of course there are downsides, anything else would be lying, but there is a difference when you invite joy and relaxation into your life through meditation or sports, for example. Suddenly, new paths open up, people reach out to help, or you simply have a bit of luck.
A conscious decision
I don’t want to make a plea for a life far removed from consumption, because this doesn’t have to be at all. A successful business, making money, investing and mindful consumption are not mutually exclusive in my opinion. When I consciously earn money and invest it, I am not ruled by fears of losing it or having too little of it. This automatically increases my willingness to share or donate it with others as well, which in turn leads to more abundance in the heart.
I share my experience for the reason that it has moved something profound and, as a result, has changed many things in a positive way. And I have the hope that this text might also change something in you. A conscious decision is your personal right. My wish would be that you don’t let any advertising measure take it away from you. Because the most important investment is not in a consumer good that you can put up nicely at home, but always in yourself.
What is your personal attitude towards possessions and consumption? Has dealing with this topic also brought about a change in your life, or have you perhaps found a completely different way of dealing with these issues for yourself? Feel free to share your opinion with the FemalExperts community!
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.