Retail Therapy is Not Therapy

In fact, maybe just the opposite.

When something is therapeutic, not only should you feel good, it should give you a sense of fulfillment, and maybe even bring you closer to others around you. Shopping only does the first part — makes you feel better — and only for a short stint.

The long term effects are that it causes you to want more. The next best thing. The next upgrade. And we become addicted to the chase. We begin chasing, for the sake of chasing. Not because the thing we are trying to purchase is a necessity.

Focusing on the next thing is no way to live. There's plenty to be enjoyed now, if we only spent our time appreciating what we already have instead of being infatuated with what luxury to pursue next.

Most of us have water, food on the table, a place to live, and a means to make money to uphold a basic standard of living. That means we have extra money and extra time. It's more important than ever to ask ourselves what we are doing with the rest of the time. Are we enjoying it with loved ones? Deepening relationships? Appreciating the fulfilling and nuanced life that we live?

Or is it just a chase for the next thing, all so you can continue the pursuit for the next thing following that?

Retail therapy is not therapy.

On the other hand, appreciation therapy might be a thing. Appreciation is a way to spend our time, just like shopping is. Except it does everything shopping doesn't do well. It nourishes our soul. It deepens emotional connections with others and builds relationships. It emphasizes that we can be content with what we already have.

I suppose one thing appreciation therapy doesn't do well is acquire material things. But what big deal is that, for someone who has decided that material objects aren't all that important.

In Pursuit of More

There's a myriad of things that all of us pursue: Material goods, social status, wealth, just to name a few.

Unless I missed some memo, everyone I know is in pursuit of something. So it is not a matter of pursuing or not pursuing; The question is, what are we pursuing more of?

We can only answer for ourselves, but it is a worthwhile exercise. What do you want more of?

Here is my list:

  • appreciation
  • physical fitness
  • emotional fitness
  • deeper emotional connections with others
  • financial wealth
  • opportunities to apply myself at work
  • focus