There is a portion of consumption of goods, services and media with which people tragically fail to get their needs met. A portion of consumption with which they try to compensate their mental wounds, pain and traumata, and consequently experience temporary, superficial satisfaction only. From now on I call this portion COmpeNSUMPTION.
I deeply desire that we permanently learn about new ways of nourishing and healing our soul in order to experience deep peace and joy. I wish for us to continuously grow in this field of learning, instead of unintentionally wasting an unnecessary part of our precious lifetime (for “Otherwise I could not afford all these things”-jobs) while at the same time – believing to be powerless – condoning the destruction of our livelihood.
Examples for COmpeNSUMPTION are:
- consumption out of impulse due to anger and frustration
- consumption out of “remorse”, in order to “fix” an interpersonal relationship (to children, partners, …) e.g. often by giving material presents
- consumption to be seen or heard (e.g. social media, eye-catching jewellery, …)
- consumption to “belong”, to “take part”, to be able to “join a conversation” (e.g. by buying newest versions of technical devices)
- consumption to compensate stress (e.g. smoking, eating sweets in between meals, …)
- consumption to mitigate emotional pain or to distract from it (e.g. frequent and/or boundless consumption of alcohol, drugs and computer games)
ATTENTION: COmpeNSUMPTION is not false consumption! COmpeNSUMPTION should not be condemned. In COmpeNSUMPTION human beings may find protection, shelter and orientation. However, it is consumption that won’t lead human beings to deep satisfaction. Even worse: while spending their lifetime to earn the money for this part of consumption they in the same time – mostly unconsciously and due to the fatal impacts of today’s predominant ways of thinking in politics and economy – endanger the planet’s ecosystems and the world’s peace.
The examples mentioned above are not per se indicators for COmpeNSUMPTION: Smoking may satisfy the need for enjoyment. Social media may serve the need for exchange. For one human being an act of consumption may be the right one to satisfy her or his needs. For another human being the very same act only serves to compensate. Only every individual can reflect for his or herself whether or not the consumption really and effectively satisfies their personal needs.
You can ask yourself e.g. the following question to find out if an act of consumption partially contains COmpeNSUMPTION:
- Does your act of consumption serve the reduction of frustration or anger?
- Does your act of consumption serve the dissolving of your “remorse” (e.g. by giving a material present)?
- Does your act of consumption serve to be seen or heard?
- Does your act of consumption serve to “belong”, to “take part” or to be able to “join a conversation”?
- Does your act of consumption serve the reduction of stress?
- Does your act of consumption serve to mitigate emotional pain or to distract from it?
If you answer some of these or similar questions with “Yes” it lies with you to think about possibilities you have at your disposal to more effectively meet your mental needs. Some examples in the following:
- an alternative to consumption out of anger and frustration: maybe shout at the wall, slam a sack of rice or sprint through the park. Then take your time to explore what frustrates you, maybe together with a person you trust. Develop strategies how to deal with the frustrating situation or what needs to happen so that such a situation doesn’t repeat in the future
- healing interpersonal relationships: explore what strains you in your relationship. Get in touch with the other person and find out how she or he feels hearing about your feelings and needs. Listen carefully to each other. Together develop strategies how your relationship can get more collaborative or even beautiful. If you both don’t come up with effective strategies consider a mediation.
- being heard and belonging: explore your sorrows and wishes. Get in touch with those you want to be heard by. If this doesn’t work, get in contact with others and ask for support. The clearer you are about your intentions and the better you manage to communicate them, and the more time you take for this process, the more likely your need for being heard and belonging will be met.
- reduce stress: make yourself aware of your life situation and explore possibilities to change it in the short or long run. The more sensible you pay attention to what happens within and around you, the more likely you’ll perceive the possibilities and initiate change for diminishing stress as a rule in your life.
- emotional pain and blockades: you’re not alone. A huge part of our society fights with painful experiences but keeps them locked up, suppressing them. If you can gather the courage, speak with someone you trust; eventually initiatives and organisations that may be able to support you. Whether friend, empathy buddy, coach or therapist: you will quickly recognize whether a contact is helpful or not. It may be better to try more options than focusing too much on a single person who may not bring you forward. However, patience and placidity may be good guides on your way of healing, too.
- for everything: always try to give yourself the necessary empathy and love you need (including empathy for your own judgement about your own COmpeNSUMPTION) by using everything that helps you to connect to yourself, your feelings and needs (e.g. Connection Creating / Nonviolent Communication, meditation, …)
In the conscious dealing with COmpeNSUMPTION lays huge potential to reduce the consequences of excessive resource consumption and climate change. The decoupling of wealth and use of resources happens in the reduction of COmpeNSUMPTION.
However, the conscious dealing with COmpeNSUMPTION would not only reduce the use of resources but especially lead every one of us to deeper satisfaction and happiness. Additionally, through healing our mental wounds enormous energy would be released. It is that energy that would enable us as humanity to jointly attend to the challenges in the world, in order to finally be able to determinedly shape the transformation of our being in this world.
How big is your part COmpeNSUMPTION?
P.S.: Do you have further thoughts and ideas to this article? Can you think of further examples of COmpeNSUMPTION? Or alternative ways to act in order to effectively get personal needs met in case of COmpeNSUMPTION? Do you have an idea of how to call the opposite of COmpeNSUMPTION – a word describing the part of consumption which gets our needs met?
I would enjoy it a lot to study your comments!
Thanks to Tamara, Jana, Janne, Jens and Ann-Brit who supported the creation of this article.