Postmodern era is comprised of norms and patriarchies which compel a man to do things which “He” is not supposed to do.
In this sense, there are two relative theories i.e. Consumerism and Minimalism. In this post, my purpose will be to compel you more towards minimalism rather than consumerism.
Why? I have got my own logical arguments that are going to prove that consumerism is nothing but a consequential bubble created around you just because of media advertising.
Well, let’s start with some basic definitions and then further shed some light on consumerism vs. minimalism.
What is Consumerism?
Consumerism is defined in different ways by different people. The most common definition is, “Crowding yourself with the things which do not play any part in your daily routine life”
According to Investopedia, consumerism is defined as, “It is a theory which states that if a country consumes goods, services, and other stuff in large quantities, it is going to help the economy of that country”.
That being said, if a person relates consumerism to himself/herself, then it is simply concerned with greed and lust of things.
The desire to buy cool stuff’ stems from deep hidden fear and insecurities, and a desire to get accepted by the society.
In other words, the big corporations and advertising agencies are cashing on our weaknesses and using them to their own advantage.
It’s done greatly by the brainwashing from media.
Think of consumerism as a way to complicate life and you will fully grasp its meaning.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism also referred to as, “anti-consumerism”, is a counter theory against people who support consumerism.
A simple yet unique definition of minimalism is, “it can be defined as a tool which is able to help you in getting freedom”.
What kind of freedom? Freedom from desires, or getting or buying things that are not going to be beneficial to you.
Richard Holloway, a great writer and Cleric has defined minimalism in a very unique way indeed. According to him, “Minimalist people live with some common attributes such as simplicity, clarity, and singleness. These properties are going to add much power and liveliness along with joy and happiness in one’s life”
That being said, minimalism is simply controlling one’s desires in every possible situation. It is more about survival rather than spending lavishly.
Those extra things that you acquire are surely going to control you, be it one way or another. Without the desire of spending lavishly on expensive things, you will be able to know the essence of your life which is actually minimalism.
Living Life as a Consumerist is a Complete Disaster:
Consumerism or living as a consumerist will lead you to complete disaster.
Don’t believe me? Keep reading till the end and you will be convinced for sure.
Consumerist lifestyle is never as calm as minimalism. It is about giving too much attention to things that don’t even matter. That being said, you will pay a lot of attention to purchasing different clothes, footwear, tucks, sunglasses, etc, anything that you don’t actually need but make you feel good temporarily.
Here, let me quote an example from my personal life. As a teenager I used to spend lavishly on clothes, gadgets, and sports equipment. As I grew up older, many gadgets were exchanged with other worldly things but my habits never changed. The lifestyle I was living was not enjoyable at all.
As a consumerist, there was overloading of stuff in every part of my life. Well, to be honest, my study desk was always stacked with things that were a source of distraction for me.
I could never study sitting in front of that desk. Not only that but choosing what to wear and what not was one of the biggest hurdle I faced every single day.
I was unable to make a choice between an overload of clothes, sneakers, sunglasses and other things. That being said, it was a complete nightmare for me to select the best outfit from a pile of clothes.
Being a consumerist also halted ways for me to travel to different destinations. I was always concerned about what to bring to the places I was about to travel and what not. This situation was always worrisome for me because the overload of keeping things in my suitcase was pretty hard to drag at airports or even out of the house.
This is just one example from my life; you will find plenty of similar examples around or even in your own life.
In short, consumerist lifestyle surely is a complete mess. You won’t even know that those materialistic things have started to own you and you just can’t focus on other important matters.
And that’s how consumerism is going to destroy you, slowly, and eventually.
Why are People Becoming Consumerists?
As a matter of fact, many people will wonder why they are becoming consumerists. This is indeed a very serious question and that’s what the post is all about.
Advertising plays an important role to flourish the idea of consumerism. Media owns people nowadays. Be it social media, print media or electronic media, every medium has its influence on us.
However, the real issue lies with advertising. Different brands and companies will make your mind to buy that specific thing via advertising.
You can easily get trapped in advertisements shown to you by big brands because all they want is to sell you things. The strategy they apply for this purpose is to brainwash your mind. They will do it to such an extent, that you will eventually end up buying the commodity, in spite the fact it is beneficial for you or not, or even if you need it.
For instance, they are selling a skin product. The marketing tactics they imply convince you that there’s something wrong with your skin, hence persuading you to buy their product by arousing the desire to look flawless in you.
This is one way to spread consumerism among a society. Different other ways were also applied back in the 17th and 18th centuries when this theory was on its peak. New ideas of luxury thrown into a society were one of the reasons for becoming a consumerist.
Advertising, on the other hand, is also termed as a direct influence of consumerism. Take an example of tribal societies, how they are leading their lives. There is almost no use of media over there and; thus, a low urge of living a lavish life is observed among them.
In contrast, you will find people crowding themselves with unnecessary things in urban cities, just because they are exposed to too much advertising which is causing a brand culture in societies.
Minimalism Allows a Proper Way to Live Life:
Minimalism is about controlling desires for getting unworthy things that have no benefit or essence, what so ever.
It’s a way to life. You will gain a good perspective about living a happy, healthy and joyful life by adopting a minimalist approach.
Why are people unhappy with consumerist lifestyle? That’s because they have become a part of a mad race which doesn’t allow them any time to think beyond the things they own.
If you acquire a minimalist lifestyle, you won’t certainly get affected with overcrowding yourself.
Living a simple life will pave your way to be a happy person for sure. Imagine if there are no extra materialistic things in your life. You can give yourself a lot of time. You will have time to ponder over important things. Not only that, you surely will value your relationship with others and keep others happy around you.
The people close to you such as your parents, your wife, and your children, etc demand proper time and with a minimalist lifestyle, it is possible to give them the due time that they truly deserve.
Hence, acquiring the minimalist lifestyle is going to affect your life in a positive manner.
Looking at Needs vs. Wants:
Minimalism is all about ‘Needs’ as compared to consumerism which is all about ‘Wants.’ To be more precise, living a minimalist lifestyle will force you to focus on your needs only.
On the other hand, consumerism is all about fulfilling one’s desires. Through different ways of advertising and marketing gimmicks, propaganda is created intentionally and a narrative is build upon so that you actually believe that you need the specific product. In reality, it won’t benefit you and you don’t even need it.
However, this is not the case for a minimalist. The very first question that comes into the mind of a minimalist, do I really this thing badly?
Or is it just a desire that can help a minimalist to dodge the fake bubble created by advertising. Now, this is one practice to promote a minimalist lifestyle. You will eventually develop the habit of asking yourself that particular question every time you have the sudden urge to purchase anything.
Keep in mind that minimalism is not about getting poor. It’s just a way to live a simple, better and effective life. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you give off everything and start living like a poor person. It’s all about controlling your urges to spend lavishly on things you don’t really need and spending where it’s necessary.
That being said, it is a middle way between living poorly and lavishly. By acquiring the things that you need only, you can live a life without any insecurities about expensive things.
Letting The Desires Go:
Minimalism will force you to let the desires go that doesn’t benefit you. You will gradually learn about letting go of desires once you acquire this lifestyle.
With constant effort, a person can easily become mindful to help cope urges. In short, he will be able to let go of accumulated things that don’t benefit him in anyway but hard to let go of.
Transiting From Consumerism to Minimalism:
Acquiring a minimalist lifestyle from consumerist style is pretty difficult. You cannot get success overnight. However, with a great effort, you can gradually improve yourself.
Some important practices that you should implement in your life to become a minimalist are as follows:
1. Taking the First Step:
Taking the first step towards minimalism is not an easy task. If it’s just your beginning, you will need at least half an hour to think daily about things that you own.
It’s about time to decluttering and removing things you don’t really need.
Of course, if you are living a lavish life, it is probable that there are a lot of things that you won’t need.
Start off with creating a list of things that you actually need and things that you really want. This will help you sort out between the essentials and luxuries.
2. Selling the Things You Don’t Need:
Selling the possessions that you don’t need is a good idea. Either simply distribute these belongings or use it for charity, if not, you should simply sell them off.
This will allow you to make some decent money, which you can save for a rainy day.
3. Be Conscious of Your Impulses:
Before buying anything, double check if you really need that thing, in fact, you will need to ask yourself this question repeatedly, whether you need the specific commodity or not.
Don’t buy something unless you are pretty sure you actually need that thing, once you are sure, then only spend. This will stop you from spending mindlessly and lavishly.
4. Pause and Breathe:
Always pause, before taking any decision in life. Acting on impulse has proven to be disastrous.
Similar is the case with buying, before making your purchase, pause and breath.
Taking a long breath before making your purchase will provide you with ample time to making your mind clear about your purchase.
In this way, that physical desire will also fade away that was compelling you to make a purchase.
That being said, even after taking a long breath and pausing, if you still think that you need to make a purchase, you should go for it.
5. Don’t Pay Heed to Advertisements:
I know that it’s impossible to block all advertisements from your life. However, you can limit your exposure to them. How so? By limiting the usage of social media i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Reduce your screen time to keep yourself calm and your life peaceful.
6. Force Yourself to Wait:
Well, this is another practice that might come handy as this will allow plenty of time to think about before making your purchase. Forcing yourself to wait may also help you to analyze the essence, benefit, and necessity of the purchase you are going to make.
This is not an easy practice by the way. However, with time, you will gradually improve upon it.
A transition from consumerism to minimalism is not easy, nevertheless, not impossible either.In a nutshell, it’s a practice of giving up on desires and letting go of things which you don’t really need. Apply the above mentioned practices in order to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, and to live a life to the fullest with simple things and joys that life has to offer.
Thanks for reading!
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