I’ve learned a lot about shopping since I started focusing on it 5 years ago. Before that, it was always a part of my life, I just didn’t put any conscious thought or energy into understanding it, or my relationship to it.
Here’s 10 things I’ve learned about shopping:
- Shopping fuels our economy. This is why ‘consumer confidence’ is one of the terms you see often in the general and financial news – it indicates how much regular people (that’s us – the consumers) are spending, and this is considered an indicator of general economic health for a region or nation.
- How we shop differs radically from person to person, household to household. There are those who shop regularly for many things, to those who shop infrequently for fewer things. The difference often boils down to where shopping fits into that person or households’ life including their attitudes and resources.
- Shopping is necessary. We all need to shop, in some way, at some times. Unlike other addictive or unhealthy behaviours (such as gambling, drinking or drugs), you can’t simply eradicate shopping from your life if your relationship to it isn’t healthy.
- Shopping in itself is what I call a morally neutral activity. In and of itself, it is neither good nor bad, positive or negative. It is our relationship to shopping that determines how good and positive, or bad and negative that shopping is, or becomes.
- Shopping only goes wrong when it becomes unhealthy for the individual engaged in it. For many, shopping is a positive experience, perhaps even a fun activity they enjoy when they do it.
- Determining if and when shopping has become unhealthy is personal– what might feel unhealthy to me may feel and actually be quite balanced for you, and vice versa.
- According to the studies and statistics, the vast majority of people (around 90%) do not have an unhealthy relationship to shopping. Roughly 10% of people are reported as being addicted to shopping.
- Shopping can fulfil many legitimate needs including social and emotional needs. People shop to ease key transitions in their life, to relax or escape, or to have some form of social connection.
- Shopping that is unhealthy or addictive is also about the attempt to meet legitimate emotional needs. Because of the vicious cycle at play when shopping is unhealthy (feel bad – shop to feel better – feel worse), this pattern never creates the emotional payoff it is attempting to create.
- When in its rightful place in your life and engaged in a healthy way, shopping is simply one of life’s necessities or one of life’s positive experiences you engage in when you need to. That’s all it is.