I thought in the past that I could find who I was by what I purchased.
For example, I’d ask myself: If I bought this pair in red or brown, what would it say about me?
Brown means I’m sensible.
Red means I’m a little more fun loving.
Which colour do I want to represent who I am?
For me, it was as though I could force myself to be someone by purchasing the items of what my ideal self would own.
My ideal self would be self confident and financially secure, as two of the traits I admire in others (there are many more, trust me!).
However, instead of working towards that goal by improving myself, namely my finances to become financially secure, I irrationally felt that if I spent lots of money, and purchased whatever my heart desired on impulse, it was a sign of financial security.
How that even makes sense now, is beyond me.
After reading about the Keeping up with the Joneses syndrome, and keeping up with appearances in general, I started to realize that those of us who shopped like crazy and were on this treadmill were actually the ones who were insecure in who we were, both emotionally and financially.
It wasn’t until I realized the motives of why I shopped, that I was able to address what was the problem in my life.
I felt inadequate and insecure, and to make up for that, I shopped to project the image of who I wanted others to see me as, all the while KNOWING that I was a fraud, which caused me to shop more as a way to prove my point with more stuff.
Like a hamster trapped on a wheel.
I now know my things, are not who I am.
If I buy a thrift store jacket that’s in good condition and a good fit on me for $20, I am not cheap or a charity case, I’m being a conscious spender, and perhaps an environmentalist because I am not contributing to a new purchase, but buying something already made.
It also doesn’t mean I don’t have money. In fact, it means the opposite.
The fact that I can be smart about my daily purchases, means I keep more money in the long run.
Who was I proving myself to in the past? An imaginary panel of judges, that’s who. It’s not my friends’ money, it’s mine that I’m spending for this useless pursuit of image.
The only person I had to convince, was myself, and only I can determine my own self worth.
But if I put the emphasis on what I purchase to be who I am as a person, it is an empty change.
I am no longer chained to an ideal self, or very much concerned with people who look down their noses at what I do, such as:
- bring my own lunch to work — eating out is fattening and expensive, and I was teased by a friend once
- not sleeping on an actual bed, but on a futon — this is more of a lifestyle choice, partly driven by minimalism
- not spending money frivolously — my siblings are the opposite, still in the mindset that spending = indicator of great wealth