January 12, 2022
Most understand what we mean when we say consumer society. We see it every day. It’s the society that sees the buying of goods and services as the most important social and economic activity. But relationship consumerism? What is that you might ask?
“A social order that encourages the continuous acquisition of new partners in ever-increasing amounts.” The Stoicess
Our insatiable taste of obtaining happiness through purchasing more goods has had a spillover effect into our most cherished relationships. How commercials impact our minds to upgrade to newer or different inanimate items – our cars, our homes, even products for our looks — trains our minds in an undesirable manner. The reason? Our minds cannot differentiate between inanimate items and the relationships we once cherished.
So, Relationship Consumerism becomes anchored in our minds. We begin evaluating our current partner against other potential partners and decide updating to another is the only path to true happiness.
And it’s not only our partners. The negative impact of Relationship Consumerism even has a spillover effect in our jobs. Where it used to be that managers promoted employees from within the ranks, we now select external hires because we see the flaws of our current staff, and our happiness can only be achieved (in our minds) with that mysterious someone yet to be hired.
We are at a point in our relationships where trust is challenged. We update accordingly among friends if the more popular person allows us into their social group. Ties established since childhood are thrown out immediately without forethought. For the family? The very foundation of the family – our marriages – is being shaken as never before.
For me, I see these temptations and recast my mind to focus on what is important. I do this by training daily with My People – writing down the things I can live without through a daily exercise I call “The Socrates’ Challenge.” Some may consider it a child’s game. However, its simplicity has had a powerful effect on my life and the lives of My People.
You see, the Socrates’ Challenge is a simple daily task of “mental” window shopping. It’s based on the words of Socrates, “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without”. Items are considered, but I decide I will not purchase them because I realize they are unnecessary for my happiness. And I share my decision with My People in our daily public forum. Other members do the same.
So, training daily by focusing on inanimate objects that I can live without to achieve happiness, in turn, trains my mind to find satisfaction with my current relationships.
Don’t believe me? Think a moment about “wax on, wax off” from the movie the Karate Kid®. Daniel learned defensive karate blocks through the very mundane chore of waxing cars.
Relationship Consumerism does exist. We can strengthen our relationships as a byproduct of doing a simple task that appears completely unrelated. It’s just how God built our minds. So, join me in our daily exercise, the Socrates’ Challenge.
Now using My S-T-O-I-C STORYTELLING method:
(S) I’m interested in my partner’s friend; how should I handle it?
(T) “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach…. Their mind is set on earthly things.” Apostle Paul
“I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.” Socrates
(O) I will retrain my mind using the Socrates’ Challenge.
(I) I realized I let consumerism spill over into my relationships, and I need to re-anchor my mind correctly.
(C) I now guard my mind, my heart, against Relationship Consumerism.
The Stoicess’ Secret? What the brain learns, it will use in turn to seek happiness.
Remember: “It’s the Situation Keeping My Connection with Him”.
I’m Lori Stith, The Stoicess, and I believe in You!
Here’s the video if you’d like to watch.
June 29, 2022
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