I always loved to shop.
It was like a hobby of mine. I always got excited perusing the latest fashions in stores, checking out the latest gadgets. I would pride myself on knowing what was in, what looked good, what worked well, etc. I would get excited when launches of new things came out, whether it was the latest gadget, a new makeup palette, or a celebrity clothing line. I loved things like this.
To some extent I still do.
Going through this experience of being laid off hasn’t been an easy one and due to this uncertainty I’ve had to basically stop shopping and learn to conserve my resources. This has been difficult to say the least, especially with the holiday season coming up.
After having failed at attempting to manifest wealth so that I could take advantage of the latest and greatest holiday ‘stuff’ that most companies come out with this time of year, I finally got curious as to why this was so important to me.
I asked myself – do I really want all of these things because I love them so much? Or is it because of something else? Am I trying to achieve a feeling of happiness by purchasing these things?
I started reflecting on my shopping habits, how I felt afterwards when I spent a significant amount of money and whether those feelings ever lingered well after I had spent money. Or whether those feelings of happiness were short lived. I had read and learned all about addictions; I could understand on a conscious, logic level the dangers of being addicted, whether it’s to an actual substance such as drugs and alcohol, or food, or shopping, or sugar etc. But I hadn’t allowed myself to become curious about my own habits, especially with shopping. I hadn’t allowed myself to express the charged emotions behind shopping or lack there of.
I got curious about the uncomfortable feelings I felt when I couldn’t purchase something I desired. I realized a couple of things:
- When I wasn’t able to purchase what I wanted, I felt feelings of unworthiness.
- I was giving my sense of happiness, peace, and joy to the very thing that I wanted to acquire. If I didn’t acquire it, I wouldn’t allow myself to be happy, feel at peace or even feel joy.
I realized that I was giving my power away. I had effectively decided that I would not allow myself to experience feelings of happiness or peace until I actually purchased the items that I desired. I wondered where I even learned this from?
As I reflected back on my childhood, I realized that growing up my parents would basically buy everything for me and that is how they primarily showed their love for me. When I would ask them to buy something for me which they felt they couldn’t afford or that they felt for their own reasons was ‘a waste of money’, I would be left feeling unworthy of having that item and that I couldn’t be happy without that item. I am not blaming my parents in any way for this because truly they did the best they could and have their own belief systems.
I understand now that as an adult I had continued to perpetuate these same beliefs. In a moment of awareness, I felt like I was finally free. Free of having to wish, hope, pray for, things to buy in order to make me happy. I also realized that not being able to possess the thing that I wanted to buy doesn’t make me unworthy of it. It simply means that now is not the time, and that I am whole and complete regardless!
It’s amazing what we give our power away to if we let it. I never realized that I had been giving away my happiness for so long. The entire concept of attachment eluded me. It is talked about heavily in Hinduism and I couldn’t ever really wrap my head around it.
This experience; however, taught me a very powerful lesson:
Attachment to desires yields suffering.
This isn’t a unique concept, Buddhism talks about this quite extensively. For me, it is one thing to speak of it through the conscious mind, quite another to actually feel it, to experience it.
I then began to look at other areas of my life and how these same beliefs were manifesting themselves – I remembered envying so many people for their grades, their partners, their work situations, how many friends they had on Facebook, etc. I wondered if they could have the things that I desired, why couldn’t I?
I have struggled with issues of self esteem and self worth and seeing these belief systems being played out in other areas of my life made me aware of exactly what I believed to be true of myself. I had attributed so much of my sense of self to things, people, experiences OUTSIDE of me instead of focusing on my own inner beauty and gifts.
It is my belief that should we continue look to the outside to define who we are, we are in SERIOUS trouble! Plus it totally devalues who we truly are; we give our power away.
I realized that even though I may still desire to purchase things, I don’t have to let my temporary inability to buy them now hinder my happiness, my sense of peace and joy in this present moment.
Here’s to freedom!