How Insecure are Your Insecurities Making You?
The 1950’s consumer boom arose from advances in psychology (Freudian) that changed the way we shopped. Rather than marketers targeting you for products that provided a physical solution, need to carry things? Why not try a bag? You were targeted for products that would solve an emotional one, this bag will make you sexy.
Solving an emotional problem – your insecurities – with a material solution – a bag – is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube with your sense of smell, it can’t be done (unless you’re Uri Gellar or something, which I’m guessing you’re not) which means there’s no limit to how much you can try and you could be sniffing around forever. In marketing terms, this means you can always be retargeted for new stuff (which is just what it is: stuffing) and you’ll always have new stuff to buy since you’ll never solve the problem.
This has contributed to the ‘shopping addiction’ epidemic we’re contending with today. The problem never gets solved and false solutions a presenting themselves constantly. More than that though, it’s transcended the perpetual ‘living paycheque to paycheque’ problem to the more recent condition of ‘living paycheque to credit card/overdraft/ Littlewoods-buy-now-pay-later-scheme that by day two of the month your bank account is back at zero and headed right back into the minus. Like walking up a downwards escalator, you started at ground but, not walking fast enough, have ended up at the basement. You can’t go any lower.
If covering your bills is all you want, great, keep plodding, but it leaves little room to prepare yourself for trouble ahead. Imagine – if biblical metaphors are your thing – in the story of The Great Flood, Noah said, ‘Build a giant boat, God? No time for that, I’ve gotta work. Those payments for my Channel toga and diamond encrusted staff (or trident?) ain’t gonna cover themselves, are they?’
Well, there’d be no debt problem, all debtors would be a mile underwater.
We need to sack off this notion that buying things now, immediate gratification, will provide long-term emotional security. This bag – which is just a dead cow with a jazzy print – might make you feel sexier today but chipping at your cash flow will destabilise your future. Like pulling off a chair leg to scratch your back. The chair will last for a while, but one gust of wind and you’re on your arse, all to solve this moment’s itch.
Resist filling your emotional deficit with material possessions. Find, instead, happiness in the now, the real, the present moment. It is, after all, free, and produces longer lasting fulfillment than your jazzy dead cow. You’ll save money and get happier, creating a new cycle of emotional and financial security that charges itself, like a car battery, or, I dunno, sleep.
My Mum says: ‘If you’re standing on a secure surface and a bee buzzes near your face, it’s no big deal. But if you’re scaling the empire state building with suction cups holding you in place and a bee [a special kind that can withstand unusually high altitudes for its species] buzzes near your face, you’re buggered.’
Problems are alright, it’s how secure you are to handle them that matters.