How do I stop always wanting more?
This question has been spinning around my head a lot lately. On the one hand, wanting more has led to success: a first-class degree, the opportunity to live abroad, a recent promotion (*pats self on back*). But on the other, it also means I’ve always got a list of things I want. Some of them are necessary—wanting to be more involved with client communications at work makes sense because I’ll have to step out of my comfort zone—and some of them are not. Heaven knows I do not need another face mask or stripy top.
I guess by ‘more’, I mean material things. While I’m fully invested in figuring out a way to blend minimalism and low waste, I’m also susceptible to the lure of something shiny and new. This is despite me regularly writing lists of things I’m grateful for—material items almost never feature. I’ve noticed patterns now I’ve made gratitude lists a habit: I note good conversations, time spent with loved ones, doing things to take care of myself, getting organised, doing well at work, laughing, eating a delicious meal, and any encounters with cute dogs on the street. But the drive to buy more more more is still there.
I think part of it stems from growing up without a lot. My parents never made my brother and I feel like we went without, but now I’m older I have a better understanding of everything they did for us, from working extra hours to pay for after-school activities to missing out on things they wanted so we were taken care of. The biggest amount of gratitude I have is always for them. Even so, the thrill of now being able to buy things if I need them (within reason) still hasn’t gone away.
And then there’s the self-esteem issue. Low confidence is something I’ve dealt with for my entire life, although it’s improved over the last few years (and will continue to, love you Coach Kirk!). Marketing has clearly had more of an effect on me than I’d like to admit, because the idea that if I just buy this one item I’ll magically be happier has burrowed its way into my brain.
So how do I stop always wanting more? I don’t have a clear-cut answer. Advertising is everywhere and I don’t think anyone is completely immune from it. I’m going to keep writing my gratitude lists and make a point of seeking everything on it out, because ultimately they’re the things that bring me the most happiness. And I’ll keep striving to buy less, because I’m lucky to already own the things I have. Beyond that, I’m not sure there’s one solution. I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on this, so let me know what works for you (or if you feel the same way).
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!