Recently, I have learned how to do this for myself, and although I am nowhere near the finish line – and most likely never will be – I have gained some knowledge along the way.
1. Just stop.
This is the first and most important step in quieting the consumer. Just stop. Take a deep breath and don’t allow your mind to spiral. This thing you are considering, even if it is amazing, isn’t going to bring you ultimate joy and happiness. So what is it going to bring you? This is no time for flowery, Pinterest daydreaming. This is the time to give yourself space to really consider this item and what brought you to the point of wanting it so badly. Step back from the ledge, see it for what it really is, and what it means to you.
2. Ask yourself why.
Once you have considered it, now you have to ask the hard question—why do you want it? Don’t avoid this part, sit with it. Is it so you can have what “they” have? So you can feel better about a situation, or yourself? So you can be perceived a certain way by others? Or is it something that will supposedly make your life easier? Simpler? More manageable? More beautiful? Answer these questions with honesty, and you will have a much better handle on whether it’s worth your energy, money, and maintenance.
3. Take an inventory.
Before you run out to buy this item, it’s important to take a quick look at what you already have. Chances are there is something you already own that may suffice just perfectly. I cannot count how many times I have purchased something I thought I needed, only to come home and find that exact item hiding in a drawer somewhere. This is also a wonderful case for practicing minimalism in your home so that you can actually find the things you need, when you need them.
4. Practice gratitude.
Now that you’ve followed these quick steps, you can make a healthy decision about your purchase. But whether you buy it or not, it’s important to remember that anything you buy will only bring temporary happiness. Focusing your energy on what matters most is always a good idea, and one way to do that is to intentionally practice gratitude. I find that in moments when I find myself lacking, or feeling like I must have this one thing to be happy, I simply need to just begin another kind of list—things I am thankful for. When I start listing that out in my mind, I am overwhelmed by how many wonderful gifts I already have in my life, and just like that, the one thing doesn’t seem as attractive or necessary after all.
Design a simple life. Start here. Start now.
Images courtesy: Dick van Duijn/Instagram