Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Consumerism And The Recession

So how did it get to this? Where people fill gaps where love could be? With the next Iphone, Ipad, designer clothes and labels galore? When did consumerism become the source of well-being people are looking for?

I know many people struggling with this recession and I know it is tough going for many people, but I see it as a huge wake-up call to get our priorities right.

When parents and entire families consume like swarms of flies the next 'best' thing, and families no longer spend time together, something is seriously wrong with society. When people mainly communicate with sons and daughters or partners through text messages, Facebook and the internet, something is wrong; and when people talk to one another on computer when they are in the next room something is seriously out of balance in the world.

This is why I feel that this recession is a good thing for some people in society.

Consumerism has, in my eyes, become a plague on the natural well-being of global society. This generation is feeling the effects of recession as a panic that they are unable to get the next technology or other material possession.

Possessions are beginning to possess people instead of the other way round.

The definition of poverty being termed as not having the next 'in' thing appals me. My best friend, who is in his 70's, tells me how society has changed, in that poverty in his generation was more about whether you could afford to eat or have shoes on your feet. Compare that to the panic and fear of the youths of the London riots, frightened of not belonging or fitting in without the latest Nike or Converse trainers, or for many the next smartphone. My friend's generation may have had identities based on a high work ethic and family values and now people base who they are on how much stuff they have.

This recession will be a wake up call to many. Many will not cope because the strength of their identity is based on all that 'stuff'. The 'lucky' ones will question their worth and hopefully discover a new sense of value and appreciation for the basics in life and spending money will become valued and deeply appreciated. And of course there are those who will keep up the level of consumerism (keeping the money flowing and the retail sectors going) through increasing loans and using credit cards.


I can only imagine life is like a pendulum. Right now we are swinging between the extremes of change. At one end are the consumer-driven, status-driven people who are buying stuff to fill the hole where love can be. And at the other end, those deeply experiencing poverty. AND both are experiencing poverty. One has 'stuff ' but is poor of heart, and the other does not have the 'stuff ' and feels lacking of the love they believe the 'stuff ' will bring. We all need to find a balance.

On my own spiritual journey I have swung between both extremes and I notice that the get rich quick schemes and the success coaches/channellers/create your reality teachers, are often encouraging the consumerism side of life and less of the love side. It's understandable as so many people in the West measure worth through money, status and possessions, so selling love doesn't sell as many bottoms on seats for those motivational speakers out there.

To me, money and material objects are only of value when we feel of worth, exactly as we are in the first place. If we feel lack-full prior to the 'stuff ' we will feel lack-full after the 'stuff ' arrives. So why not feel FULL of presence, FULL of soul, FULL of love and appreciation now?

After spending a week in a busy city (my birth city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne), last week, I recognise how much value I place on the simple things in my life. Nature, walking, pencils, pens, conversations with friends, stroking a cat, drinking a lovely warm coffee and breathing in fresh air. Money is something to be valued and deeply appreciated and for me, using it to 'experience' life is far more rewarding than gathering stuff.

Any stuff I gather is useful stuff. It adds to my life and brings rewards on a heart level. Does your stuff do the same?


How do you feel about the recession? Is it affecting you at all? How are you managing? And if you feel lacking do you fill your inner void with 'stuff '?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



About the Author
Kelly Martin is the author of When Everyone Shines But You – Saying Goodbye To 'I'm Not Good Enough' , a passionate writer and blogger questioning life's illusions. After what seemed like a decade of intense anxiety, feelings of failure and grief from the loss of her father she chose to take a mindfulness path and has not looked back since. Her writing style is down to earth, very human. She loves cats and adores coffee. You can find out all about her new book at kellymartin.co.uk or follow her on twitter at KellyMartin_UK
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