The Minimalist Babe: Tidying-Up Your Whole Life
The world of conspicuous consumption1
By definition, conspicuous consumption refers to a lavish or wasteful spending mindset to display economic power, enhance social status, and to flaunt one’s riches. This doesn’t necessarily refer to all expenses because sometimes you do get your money’s worth and end up spending much less in the long run. It refers to expenses that are solely for the reason of show, where some people tell the world that they have newer stuff and fancier experiences than others through their purchases.
When who we are with and what they own becomes the foundation of what we own and become
In one way or the another, most people are victims of conspicuous consumption at some point in their lives. People can often be judgmental and like to share their assumptions with others. So, in a way, what others perceive of you and put out into the world about you is what you come to be known as. Irrespective of whether you are convinced or not, the people holding the microphone should be convinced, and that’s really where the problems start to occur. The process of image-building is so subtle but deep, so evident and normal, that some people can feel almost obligated to endorse it. They therefore become a creature of habit and feel obligated to buy things just to convey their ‘qualities’ to others. The more they collect, the harder they need to work to build the image they’ve advertised through it and their collections begin to grow.
Their purpose then shifts to increasing their brand value and with it their belongings. They, therefore, spend an enormous amount of money and time chasing that image and maintaining all that they’ve accumulated in pursuit of it. When you equate material things to personal qualities, you start believing what you own is what you are and then end up living your life maintaining and managing your so-called ‘new identity’, and we all know that’s a road that has no end.
Self-worth (or the lack of it) lies at the base of nearly all our actions
Human beings are social animals. Most people are designed to love and feel happy when a person loves them back. They feel dejected, upset, angry, and depressed when the person they love loves someone else or cheats on them. Often, they seek meaning not from inside of themselves but from recognition and acknowledgement of others. They are unable to see value unless it is projected from another’s perspective. In their bid to find value, they try to fit in and adhere to society’s so-called ‘accepted norms’, and in the process become victims of conspicuous consumption.