We are led to believe that prosperity and abundance is related to the amount of ‘stuff’ that we have. For me, this is not prosperity; it’s more to do with filling a hole inside ourselves. I’ve had that hole inside me, and I endeavoured to fill it in many ways, including consuming stuff like cars, clothes and, over the years, houses. The hole was a sign of something lacking within me: my self-worth, feeling unloved or unsafe.
Yes, I needed a house but maybe not the size I bought, the same with the car. The problem is we ask the Earth to pick up the tab for filling this hole. Each resource we consume, from a notepad to the bricks of your house, all come in some way from the earth. Either it was mined, drilled, dug up, logged from or grown on it. Prosperity for me now is clean air, clean water, natural chemical-free food, love and community with family, friends and neighbours.
I have seen people in Mongolia live quite happily in a yurt. It’s not that they don’t desire other things, but not on the scale that we are currently consuming. Households in the USA, on average, consumed forty-six times more than households in Mozambique (Wikipedia, 2013). We don’t need forty-six times more stuff to be happy. In fact, the statistics on anti-depressant medication sales in the USA do not show the benefit of forty-six times more household consumption. Self-storage in the USA (i.e. people storing all their ‘stuff’) is worth billions (estimated $ 31.6 billion in 2015) and continues to increase year on year.
The time has come for each of us to ask the honest question: why am I buying each item I consume? If we buy ‘stuff’ to fill a hole inside us or buy a big car because it makes us feel better inside, for me it is not a fair balance to ask the Earth to pay the price for this hole. We cannot blame governments or corporations; they are happy for us to consume, as it makes the economy tick over quite nicely for them. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the extraction of resources is directly linked to what people consume.
The more phones, cars, laptops, devices, clothes, fuel etc. we consume, the more we extract from the Earth. But we don’t all consume the same: ‘The poorest 10 per cent accounted for just 0.5 per cent consumption, and the wealthiest 10 per cent accounted for 59 per cent of all the consumption’(Shah, 2014). There is too much consumption by the wealthiest countries to say it’s just prosperity.
We know we fill the hole by retail therapy. We know that if we don’t feel loved or good about ourselves, a shopping trip or going online to buy something will help us feel better in that moment. We know if we don’t feel safe we might buy a bigger house or a bigger car. Do we actually realise what the cost of filling that hole is for the Earth? With all due respect to companies, they are quite happy to help us fill the hole by buying more stuff. In fact, a lot of marketing is aimed specifically at those ‘holes’, whether it is ‘feeling unloved’, ‘feeling unworthy’, ‘feeling unsafe’, ‘feeling low’ or ‘feeling undervalued’ etc.
There is a whole area of marketing called ‘Inadequacy Marketing’, which is designed to actually make you feel inadequate: you don’t have this new sparkly car, don’t you feel inadequate? Companies promise to solve your feeling of inadequacy by selling you their product or service. As their customers, we succumb to this manipulation again and again. The hole is never filled, yet we continue to need more and more, purchase endlessly and remain unsatisfied.
It’s as if we are on a boat at sea, and we are taking up the wooden floorboards to make a fire to keep us warm. It’s not a big boat, and we already see the problems with ripping up parts of it. The water is beginning to leak in. Political leaders regularly see shocking graphs and statistics yet do nothing about them for fear of causing panic and upsetting the financial markets.
The Earth has enough for all our needs, but I believe it does not have enough resources to satisfy our desire to fill the emptiness that lives inside us. So what is the solution? The most basic answer is to work on filling the ‘hole’ without buying stuff. We could confront our feelings of being unloved by connecting with friends (in real time not online) or with a supportive community. Let’s get honest about how we are feeling, why we are feeling that way and how we can address it without consuming more ‘stuff’. The Earth cannot foot the bill of our insecurities.
We need to take the time to find long-term, Earth-friendly solutions to self-fulfilment. The Earth is incredibly abundant, but she can only provide for us if we take from the overflow. When we are in lack and scarcity we engage in the following operating system: I lack –I need –I grab –I hoard. Unless we are willing to ask ourselves some honest questions, neither we nor our children will enjoy the true prosperity or abundance the Earth offers because we will have consumed it all.
So if you have a few moments today I invite you to pause and ask yourself; “What am I really searching for?”
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Would you would like crystal clear clarity about what you are searching for? If you are ready to discover how to stop spending time, money and energy needlessly chasing the things you think you want to feel happy and fulfilled and learn how to manifest a life that is in alignment with your Soul our new Manifesting Masterclass is NOW OPEN for Registration.