This is a story about us being persuaded to spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to create impressions that won’t last, on people we don’t care about. – Tim Jackson’s TED talk: Economic reality check
The messages we’re bombarded with from government, media and many other sources would have us believe that we need to be good consumers who want and buy ever more stuff to keep the machine churning. Government officials love to feed us the line that increased spending supports jobs. It’s all a bunch of BS.
As a society we’re spending at record levels and jobs and general economic stability are at some of their lowest points in history. We’re one of the unhappiest lots in history.
It’s high time we stopped buying into the messages of fear that are constantly fed to us in order to control us and keep us a scared flock of sheep.
Throughout the year, and especially during this holiday season, I challenge you to be more mindful of your consumption. Consumption of food, gifts, time, money and energy.
Before over-indulging at the next holiday party or dinner, think about how hungry you are. Think about how you’ll feel the next day after consuming what you’re about to put in your mouth.
Before spending your life energy (i.e. money) on a gift, think about why you’re spending it. Are you buying a heart-felt gift for a special person to convey how you really feel about them? Or are you buying out of guilt? Or to prove your worth? Or to out-do the recipient? Or to do what others expect of you? Or to make others happy?
Before accepting yet another invitation to a party or event, consider if that’s the best use of your time. Will you connect with people you truly want to be around? Or will you attend to be accepted by a group that doesn’t really support your goals or values? Would the time be better spent with close friends or family, or alone, nurturing yourself?
How do you feel about your responses? There’s no right or wrong, good or bad response. Just notice.
Some areas where I’ve been more mindful are:
- My investment of time and energy in preparing large holiday meals for my family. I love making delicious meals that my family enjoys. While I cook a bit more for a holiday, I don’t eat more than I normally would. We make the time spent cooking and eating memorable by reminding ourselves of what we love about each other and sharing great memories that we all have of being together. Then we reflect on the great memories of that day as we eat the leftovers. This one is a keeper. I actually realized that I enjoy this tradition more than I thought after taking the time to consider how I really feel about it.
- Buying gifts for friends and family for reasons other than a genuine, heart-felt desire. It occurred to me this year that I don’t really know my family members (outside of my husband and kids) well enough to buy them a truly heart-felt gift. In the past I’ve generally bought gifts because that’s what’s expected. The gifts have usually been gift cards because they’re easy, I don’t have to think much about it and the recipient can turn them into whatever they want. I’ve done my duty. I’ve chosen to not continue this one. I don’t want to be the giver or the recipient to this kind of gift. I don’t need more stuff in my life (I actually need to purge a bit more). I don’t want others to give me anything out of a sense of duty or guilt. I know that this decision won’t go over well with others who want to maintain the status quo but I’m acting in accordance with my own personal values.
My hope is that you are simply more mindful in the decisions you make throughout the year. Take the extra moment to consider whether your decisions are in alignment with your own personal goals and values. And, yes, having fun can definitely be one of those goals or values.
How has being more mindful about your choices affected those choices?
Do you find it natural to show kindness and compassion towards others but struggle when it comes to yourself? Do you devote time and energy to your relationships with other people but forget to nurture your relationship with you? Would you like to feel compassionate, confident and accepting towards yourself?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you'll want to click HERE to learn more about the Self-Kindness Kit: an amazing collection that will help you deepen the most important relationship in your life—the one with yourself! You can get my Mindful Body Program along with 20 other beautiful ebooks, courses, and programs worth over $800 for just $79 until midnight Thursday May 5th. 10% of each sale goes to the charity To Write Love on Her Arms which offers hope and support for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Let’s pay it forward!
Enter your name and email below to receive The Mindful Living Guide and the latest from the blog. You know your life will be better for it.
Having trouble focusing? Here are my secrets and those of 36 other very smart and focused people: 99 Smart Ideas: How to Focus: 37 Experts Reveal Their Best Tips.
Hear the story of my life on the Join Up Dots podcast! http://bit.ly/jud-465
David and I discuss what was going on in my head when I left a great job in Boston to venture west and into the unknown to create the life of my dreams. We also discuss my approach to life that anyone can adopt that keeps me happy. Check it out HERE!
Find out how to easily (and happily) manage your weight and improve your health with mindfulness using the Mindful Body Program.