Much of consumerism is about sub-consciously seeking reassurance. The hidden belief is that consuming what is thought should be consumed — often what others are seen to be consuming — will somehow bring validation. So, the reassurance of consumerism is when doing what others do offers a certain comfort that you are not alone.
Seeking the reassurance of consumerism is not just about buying large TVs and fancy jeans. It creeps into all sorts of things; what you read, where you eat, even how you define success. We are social animals and copying is part of our evolutionary history. However, modernity’s culture of endless comparison and measurement is quite something else!
The modern mind is so obsessed with measuring how well it is doing that we constantly elevate false indicators of value above the actual things of value themselves. That we confuse external status achievements for inner fulfilment and material progress for human wellbeing. And, the fundamental driver here is that we have lost the ability to know ourselves and trust ourselves. To trust our own choices and feelings because we doubt ourselves so much. Such that we are always looking to the outside to confirm that we really are worth something.
Duped by Hollywood ideas of success, many fall in to the trap of believing that happiness is to be found on some mountain top. That happiness can only be found in the future, through achievement of something ‘special’ that they have pinned their self-worth to.
The truth is that running about trying to achieve this, that and the other is really a hoax. It is one giant scam. You cannot consume your way into happiness, whether through material things or status achievements. Yet, under the spell of this false belief, one can spend their whole life seeking and seeking, but never finding. Whatever one consumes or achieves they still feel hollow, like they never really arrived. And, if there is a dopamine hit at all, it soon passes.
Beyond the reassurance of consumerism
The inside information is that the infinite splendour of the human experience is readily available at any moment, if only you dare to see it. It is an experience of waking-up to yourself and your deeper motivations. About exploring how you really want to spend your time. It is about waking-up to the reality that you may be chasing the reassurance of consumerism. Something that you you know in your heart is not very reassuring at all!
The first step to breaking free is being willing to take a hard look at your life and your choices. For, there is no breaking free without self-knowledge, and there is no self-knowledge without the courage to really look within.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.