If what we resist persists then resisting materialism or consumerism on principle just brings up more seduction, allure and temptation for us. Let me back up that provocative sentence. I have found that when I resist what the consumer world has to offer, I find myself obsessing about the things I cannot have or think are out of my reach. Then this breeds envy, if only on the subconscious level, which is worst than on the conscious level. And I’m pretty sure this is true for all humans.
I’m not dissing volunteer simplicity, but I would question the reason why someone feels that they have to resist consumerism and then preach about it to their neighbors. If a person truly feels comfortable living simply, then they will just live simply and not make an issue of it or write books on the topic, unless they were born to teach those principles. But it seems some of the time that people tell others their beliefs because they’re not secure with those shaky beliefs and they seek validation.
So I came up with the exercise that can actually in a backward and counter intuitive way heal us of consumerism in its most negative sense. Walk into stores where you normally wouldn’t shop such as a furniture shop or an upscale clothing boutique and use this statement, “I would like to have that, but…” and the words that come at the end of the but will bring up your negative beliefs about self-worth, what you truly value as well as, negative beliefs and patterns. Then you can work on releasing those patterns through affirmations, meditations that include release statements, or working with spirit guides of one kind or another. You can also write down your beliefs in a journal and do some stream of consciousness writing around those beliefs. If you know how to tap using the Emotional Freedom Technique you can also try that route.
I think once you rid yourself of these underlying negative beliefs, you will also liberate yourself from materialism while also appreciating what you do have, rather than cursing it or cursing yourself for needing it. For instance, buying a dependable bicycle for yourself could lead to a sense of freedom, represents a healthier way of moving about in the world that doesn’t contribute to climate change, and gives you exercise. Having comfortable furniture is healthier for the body and if you buy sustainable furniture made from natural products, you contribute to healthy air indoor air quality. Organic cotton/wool mattresses cost more than the conventional mattress so you would find yourself buying less, but getting more for your money.
While we don’t need closets full of clothing and shoes or so much stuff that we need to rent storage spaces, most of this consumerism actually comes from seeking solace in the outer world instead of the inner one. But connecting with the inner world involves some de-cluttering too and if we don’t remove the clutter from both the outer and inner world we seek our value in material goods and become shallow in the process. I’m sorry, but I find conversations about devices and stuff rather boring. Perhaps, these conversations reveal personal taste in another, but not much more than that. I feel that people who are caught up in consumerism or obsessed with the material world are hiding from something more important and are afraid to find out what an inner journey would bring to the surface. And hoarding is the worst manifestation of this deep fear. Just like people hide behind body fat, they also hide behind materialism when it is extreme.
So try the practice of visiting stores you normally wouldn’t or if it’s more fun go to crafts fairs, wood working shops and pottery and art galleries. Then use the statement, “I would like to have that, but…” and write down what comes up then find a method or tool to release that belief or beliefs. This takes patience and time, but you will begin to feel lighter with each release. When you find that you are no longer judging others for the homes they live in, the cars they drive or the designer clothing they wear, then you are well on your way to healing yourself of negativity attached to materialism. And we all struggle with this, even the person who acts like a saintly pauper on purpose. And in fact, even Saint Francis of Assisi, who was thought to turn his back on his father’s wealth, still took money from his parents during his friar years and he wore fox fur sewn into the inside of his friar habit.