Do not let the temptations tempt you

Do not let the temptations tempt you.

How can we forsake temptation when it is all around us? In every step, every shopping window, on the radio, the YouTube ads, podcast ads, tv ads, ads on the buses or trains. Literally, in every step we make, we are tempted to purchase something which will make our life happier. It will make us finally happier.

I do not consider myself a minimalist, but I employ certain minimalistic strategies in my life that help me stay focused on what truly matters. I started this journey four years ago by daring changes that have supported my decision to redirect my perspective in life. And my views towards things.

I stopped shopping like a madman, as I used to. I have been working long and hard to accept that no matter the amount of beautiful or unique garments I purchase, fulfilment and contentment derives from my psychological state. And my psychological and emotional state is at its highest when I have a healthy body and balanced eating habits; when I feel great in my own body and skin. No amount of clothes can conceal a lack of confidence, restlessness, weariness, stress, disappointment, sadness, or remorse. But even the plainest T-shirt can emphasise our happiness and confidence. Our radiance comes from within.

Nevertheless, I often feel tempted by a gadget, an accessory, a clothing garment, art or a decorative item. I tell myself that our flat needs more… things. What if I added this item to the living room and hung more pictures on the wall? I really need to. And for a particular time, I convince myself that this is a sincere need, and I slip back into purposeless consumption. I give in but regret it soon, mainly when checking my bank account.

I then promise to myself to behave better next month; however, the following month entails yet another “necessary” expense, and, before I know it, I end up spending more than I earn and accumulating stuff than I need. And bemoan me for having done so.

I do not enjoy living a life full of remorse and stress. I have been working hard to be intentional that I cannot allow a slip back to ruin this hard work and effort, which bring about the results I wish to see from my actions. Impetuous investments of my money do not express me anymore. 

Breath, step back, reflect and evaluate. The urgency to make a purposeless purchase is our reaction to a deeper cause, something in our mentality that provokes uneasiness and insecurity. We have learnt to react to strong feelings by adding things to our life that will seemingly make us happy. To sugarcoat our discontentment. We avoid rationalising this urge by discovering the root of our impulsiveness. But we know ourselves better than anyone else. Once we decide to take up the tough work, we learn our limits and set boundaries to temptations.

I realised that this is not a final goal, something you achieve once and forever cherishing. Learning to tame our impulsiveness is a process which asks for serious effort, determination and faith in ourselves. Sometimes we give in. The good with the process bit is that you are never left out of the loop; you can always jump back in, readjust and keep going.

2 thoughts on “Do not let the temptations tempt you”

  1. Katharina,

    Indeed, big companies have whole departments and experts on consumer’s psychology in order for consumerism manipulation to prove profitable. Advertisement are never in favour of the buyer’s wellbeing, they are in favour of their money.

  2. Thank you for this thoughtful essay! I agree with you on every level. I believe oftentimes that consumerism is based on the fact that companies realize people are lacking something in their life. Yet, people don’t stop to reflect on what that may be.. live, contentment, fulfillment, happiness. All of these are things no amount of money and/or items can get you. You have to work hard on yourself to achieve these states of mind.
    It is a lot more convenient and easier to fall back on things you can purchase. It’s an illusion but people tend to prefer them than to face their true inside emotional world.

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