Growing up, I was always a bit more than envious that the other kids my age had things that I did not. But now that I’m a young adult, I am more than grateful that I was not taught that buying new things will make me happy, because I later learned that true happiness has to come from ourselves.
It cannot come from outside sources.
That is not to say I don’t have shiny object syndrome, because I do.
The feeling you get when you buy new things is a rush. I get it. I get that feeling every time I buy something new from Target or Amazon, but I also know that my happiness and self-esteem cannot depend on physical matter, because true happiness and self-esteem has to come from me.
It is not something a new laptop or juicer can give me. The only kind of happiness I may get from that is temporary and conditional happiness, which means I need to spend more money to buy more things to feel happy again.
It’s like being in a relationship. If you are dependent on someone else for your happiness, you are never going to be truly happy with yourself, because the love that you want is not coming from you, but from another human being. So you are always left feeling a little inadequate and you’re constantly trying to fill a void with someone else’s love. But as we all know, it is often unreliable and unpredictable.
You cannot fill that void in your life with shopping, alcohol, drugs, food, attention from others, etc.
Because you will only crave more and more of it to “fill yourself up,” but you will never truly feel full or satisfied, because you’re emotionally dependent on something else.
How did this become a problem?
From the time we were young, we were constantly being advertised to and conditioned to believe that corporate companies selling products had the product you needed to solve all your problems. And instead of actually working to the core of our problems, we wanted quick fixes and that magic pill that would solve everything for us without requiring us to lift a finger.
But as we all know, life doesn’t happen that way.
Throwing more money at a problem will not fix your problems. It will only cause more problems and cause you to become more dependent on things you can’t control.
Here are 3 things you can do to become self-reliant.
Acknowledge and admit that you have a problem
Self-awareness is the first step to change. If you are not aware of your situation, there is no room or reason for you to change or want to change. You have to be aware and be willing to acknowledge and understand the situation at hand.
They say knowledge is power. Knowledge of yourself is beyond powerful.
Pay attention to what comes up for you
What are you trying to accomplish or achieve by going shopping and buying more than what you need or drinking more than you should? What problems are you trying to avoid?
Often, when we do these kind of behaviors, we’re trying to compensate for something. What are you trying to compensate for?
Notice the rush you get from this. And notice how long it takes you to come down from it. With every sugar rush we get, we also experience a sugar crash. How long does it take you to crash? How often do you feel the need to replenish that?
What emotions are coming up for you?
Practice being by yourself without the noise and distractions
As Glennon Doyle Melton says in her book, “Love Warrior”, the goal is to stay a bit longer on the mat than the previous time. The goal here is to learn to be present and to listen to your own thoughts.
It will be really uncomfortable at first, because you’re so use to depending on other things for temporary relief, like shopping, television, people, alcohol, etc. But you’re always looking for the next thing.
This is a behavior you’ve learned. If you learned it, you can also unlearn it. And to end this vicious cycle, you must learn to become comfortable with yourself. Once you become comfortable with yourself, you can learn how to be happy with your existence. Remember that there is not a quick fix or magic pill to solve all your problems.
You have to do the work. You have to put in the time. You have to keep going even when you feel like giving up.
Your happiness is your own responsibility.
There is power and beauty in being yourself: authentically and wholeheartedly.
You will learn that you are and always have been a whole and completed person and that you do not need more things or people to complete you.
You are already enough and you are already worth loving.