- BREAK FREE FROM CONSUMERISM. SPEND LESS, LOVE MORE. -
BREAK FREE FROM CONSUMERISM. SPEND LESS, LOVE MORE.
Think about it. We’re flooded with ads designed to reshape our desires around material things, we have credit cards continuously increasing our credit limit leading us to spending more than what we need and a culture that celebrates having more of the expensive things in life.
Without awareness, all these puts us in a vicious cycle of wanting and accumulating more only to realize in the end that material things will not deliver the happiness that we are looking for.
Saying that the pandemic changed the way we live is an understatement. Perhaps, it also made you realize how possible it was to live with less. I remember spending less on fuel and transport, shifted to eating at home instead of eating out and realized that I have far too many clothes and shoes than I actually need.
Or, maybe not. Because while we were unable to go to our favorite retail store, the pandemic also brought about a massive rise in online shopping.
Which brings me to talk about consumerism and breaking free from it. But first, I would like to make it clear that this is not about completely shunning consumerism (because we cannot live without being consumers). Rather, this is about consuming material goods with a constant intent not to spend beyond what’s necessary. And that makes all the difference.
Think about it. We’re flooded with ads designed to reshape our desires around material things, we have credit cards continuously increasing our credit limit leading us to spending more than what we need and a culture that celebrates having more of the expensive things in life. Without awareness, all these, puts us in a vicious cycle of wanting and accumulating more only to realize in the end that material things will not deliver the happiness that we are looking for.
Moreover, even the health and wellness industry whose primary concern should be our well-being is not spared from this system. A business naturally needs to sell more in order to be sustainable but I find it crucial for any business to ask are we genuinely adding value to the lives of our consumers or are we at the point of taking value when we overstretch the promise of our products so we can charge more?
I know that there is no cookie cutter approach to answering this question. My intent nonetheless, is to generate awareness so we can be more discerning as consumers and not be caught unaware of how the system works. I am after all an entrepreneur myself, so if I endeavor to be wise in my spending as a consumer, I also ought to strive to deliver products and services at price points that genuinely add value to you.
Our next question is, how do we do it? How do we make sure that we are not going beyond what’s necessary as consumers? The answer is not one size fits all but taking my cue from Joshua Becker, author of Things That Matter: Overcoming Distraction to Pursue a More Meaningful Life, here are some guidelines that I believe would be helpful:
1. DEVELOP AWARENESS THAT WE LIVE IN A CONSUMER DRIVEN SOCIETY
If you’re still reading this, you just took the first important step. We cannot expect the system to stop because the world economy runs on promoting regular consumer spending but being aware of the reality and keeping it in mind could be the pause you need before checking out the next item in your cart and sincerely asking yourself first if the purchase is necessary. Asking questions like, “Will I actually use this in the next few days?” or “Do I need a set or can I start with a few?” would be very helpful amidst an ad that has “buy me now!” written all over it.
2. recognize that change is possible but is also a process
Considering that we are creatures of habit and how ingrained the system is in our culture, we know that the change is not going to be easy but it serves us well to recognize that it is possible. It is a process too, so we will not get to do it perfectly and that’s fine. The important thing is we learn and improve and make wiser choices and spending decisions along the way.
3. THE AMOUNT DOES NOT DETERMINE THE VALUE OF YOUR MONEY BUT HOW YOU CHOOSE TO SPEND IT
Every resource that we have been given in this life hold great potential. Money spent on buying the next luxury item we think we need versus using money to help enrich the lives of the poor will impact your own life in very different ways. I like it when Joshua Becker said, “we ought to dream bigger dreams for our money than the clearance rack at the department store.”
4. CONSIDER THE FULL COST OF YOUR PURCHASE
Oftentimes, our default would have been to look at the price tag of the product we are interested in and that’s it. But our purchases come with opportunity costs. With every product we say yes to, we say no to something else.
If we end up overspending in some areas, that difference no matter how small could mean more for another person. This is one of the reasons why we strive to be resource efficient as a business because we hope to be able to offer alternative quality products at reasonable prices. But our motivations do not end with simply saving some cash. It’s doing so in order to invest on other things that matter more.
5. CULTIVATE THE DISCIPLINE OF GRATITUDE
It’s easy to be grateful when times are good but much more difficult to do so when it isn’t. However, when we recognize that true happiness is not dependent on the material things that we have but rather on the quality of our relationship with God and others then we start to need less of the things that give temporary short-term happiness and look to cultivate more of those that truly matter.
6. PRACTICE GENEROSITY
The line it is better to give than to receive came from Jesus himself and it would serve us well to reflect on what this means. After all, it is more common for us to operate from a scarcity mindset rather than recognizing that He promises to faithfully provide for our needs if we seek Him first. But the truth is, giving enriches both the recipient and the giver and even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, giving positively impacts our overall wellness.
One of the early decisions we made in Aurae Natura is not to wait until we’re big before we try and make a difference. We choose to be involved and contribute in the fight against human trafficking through our partner organizations in whatever capacity we have been given, big or small. Doing so has enriched us in a much bigger way than the amount we spent and our hope is that we get to open that same door to you as you continue to engage with our brand.
7. Commit to it daily and find accountability partners
Early on, we already established that this is going to be a process and that the change will not happen overnight. Not to mention all the communication that we get on social media that creates a desire in us to make that next purchase. This is why we have to renew our commitment daily and it helps to find a community who shares the same values as you.
Finally, it may seem counterintuitive for us to be speaking about this topic. But more than selling products, our business first and foremost is to care for your well-being and that includes encouraging you (us included) to commit to use our God-given resources wisely.
As a company in the natural essential oil industry, you will hear us speak about the concept of less is more and while selling more seems beneficial for us, we would be happier if we can encourage you to be wiser in your consumption and discerning in your choices. After all, this results to longer term benefits for you and also for our natural resources.
Echoing final words from Joshua Becker, we will always be consumers but we are designed with a mission far greater than that. The sooner we remove ourselves from unnecessary consumption, the sooner we will realize our truest potential.
May it be so in your life and mine.
Becker, J. A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Consumerism. https://www.becomingminimalist.com/consumer-isnt/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Des and I’m an entrepreneur, certified aromatherapist and Christian cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner. After leaving behind a 10-year career in the corporate world, I took my certification in aromatherapy and started Aurae Natura. My hope goes beyond providing you reliable and credible information about aromatherapy and therapeutic-quality essential oils but to serve you meaningful content that will also nourish you mentally, emotionally and spiritually.