This post was inspired by a comment made by Renee on my friend Debbie Roes excellent blog, Recovering Shopaholic. In a post about redefining your style, and the definite downside that can come with that if you have a tendency toward shopping too much, Renee commented with this stop-in-your-path insightful comment and question:
“So here’s my question. Let’s say you did go out and buy all of the perfect pieces you felt are missing from your wardrobe. Now you have everything you need. You love it all. It’s all relatively new, so you’re not going to need to replace anything for… years, maybe.
Now what happens? Do you finally stop shopping? Do you continue to shop and rebuild a huge wardrobe with your new style direction?
Or do you stick with one-in-one-out, getting rid of progressively newer pieces? Or, do you then change up your style again in an effort to maintain your shopping habit?
I guess this all boils down to the question, When Does It End?
Obviously clothing wears out, so eventually one must purchase new items in order to stay clothed, but when does the constant thinking and planning and searching and strategizing and rationalizing and justifying cease?
When will you have Enough?”
Thank you Renee. I don’t know you but your comment and questions are some of the most thought provoking, and important, I have come across for anyone who is dealing with a shopping problem. And personally, where I am on my own journey of conscious consumption right now, reading your words gave me pause for important reflection.
I consider myself well down the path to healing from a compulsion to overshop, but I also recognise the journey is an ongoing one, and there may be no end to it. I’m okay with that.
But what I’m not okay with is never getting to a place of healing, of calmness, away from the place where the grip of overshopping remains strong and unyielding. I cannot believe that ‘once a shopaholic always a shopaholic’ – the leopard cannot change his spots.
I believe that change is possible, that real and lasting behaviour change is achievable.
There must be an end to the constant call of the mall, the intoxication of the buy high. There must be an end to shopping until we drop.
There must come a time when it’s over – all the thinking and planning and searching and strategizing and rationalizing and justifying
There must come a time when we put shopping in its rightful place in our lives. When we find meaning and connection and stimulation from other things, apart from shopping.
There must come a time when we choose to shop, not feel compelled to. When we have a range of options of what we can do with our precious time and energy and decide that shopping isn’t the best place to focus all that precious time and energy of yours.
There must come a time when we decide that living our lives, rich and full and exactly as we want them to be, doesn’t involve the accumulation of more and more things, and more and more time spent in the mall.
There must come a time when our legitimate needs – emotional and psychological and social — are met with connections, activities and people who aren’t found in stores. When we realise that shopping isn’t the answer.
There must come a time when we stop shopping so much, and we give up the idea that the feeling state we are so desperately chasing (somewhere in the vicinity of ‘happiness‘) is found in the acquisition of more and more things.
There must come a time when our ability to express our personal style isn’t connected with buying new and buying more. When the ‘person’ comes before the ‘style’.
For me, the end is here.
The end of the ‘constant thinking and planning and searching and strategizing and rationalizing and justifying’ (thank you again Renee for your wonderful words which so aptly sum up the mental machinations that go on in the shopaholics head).
For me, I am stepping more fully into a self defined sense of enoughness. I have enough now. I am enough right now.
I am enough.
You are enough.
More: 3 tips for making it stop.
and get your assessment tool: Are You Addicted to Shopping?
and report and email series: The 12 Secrets to Less Shopping - More Style