posted by Sarah Chia
My mother-in-law, who’s a florist, is in town this week. Last night, she succinctly explained how items sell in her shop by saying, “It’s exciting to have new things. And people will buy it whether they need it or not.”
Isn’t that the truth? It’s exciting to have new things, and we buy new things to get excitement into our lives. We are looking for an emotional sensation, so we spend time, energy, and money buying material items to crowd our houses.
But what if, instead of letting our emotions control our decisions, we allow our reason to influence our emotions. I say “influence” because emotions are, in part, a spontaneous reaction to something. I think I might miss some of that if I were to start trying to control my emotions completely. I certainly do think it’s worth reasoning out our emotions, though, to see if they are really worth acting on. And perhaps, as we do, we can start to influence them to come around at other, more appropriate times.
Because if we think through it, it isn’t really true that new things are exciting. Not inherently, anyway. They’re only exciting when we put value on newness. Perhaps it’s social conditioning to think that something new is exciting. What if we start to value something else? Whatever we value will be exciting.
If we value reusable, then reusable items will be exciting. If we value up-cycling, then up-cycled items will be exciting. If we value our family members and friends over items of any kind, then time spent in building relationships will be exciting.
So, moving away from excessive consumerism and toward simplicity is somewhat a matter of mind of emotion. We need to take time to decide what is valuable to us before acting on emotional impulses. But the great is that when we reason through what is valuable, we also find that emotional satisfaction emerge from other places.