Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Want what you want

If we are to be successful, if we are to be happy we must define these terms for ourselves. We have to understand the difference between the external pressure to want and the internal desire to have. The external pressure to want is a function of society; it tells us you are successful if you have this brand of jeans, if you drink this brand of coffee. By creating symbols that show off how well we are doing advertising and consumer culture creates false wants. I say false because they do not originate in our hearts and heads but are placed there by others.

The problem with these false wants is that when we get them they do not satisfy our real desires. They give us momentary flashes of happiness but like kids on Christmas day the joy of the new toy quickly fade or to put it another way, the sweetness of the candy does not stay on the tongs forever. When we satisfy our true desires, the desires that come from our hearts and our heads, when we create a life style geared towards being our selves, then we can find happiness that lasts.

We have to learn to be unaffected the marketing chatter that pollutes our daily existence. We do this not by ignoring it, because if we ignore the charter it creeps in to our brain without us noticing: that is what it was designed to do. Instead we must become aware of the voice, listen to what it is saying and see how it is trying to manipulate us. We quite the voice of consumerism not by saying "SHUTUP!!!" but by saying "that is nice but no thank you." We watch for the hooks and snares it lays for us and side step them.

Once we have quieted the outer pressures to have a thing or live a certain way we can start to listen to the voice inside us that says it would be nice to have this. I want to be clear here I am not denouncing wanting things, instead I am encouraging it. It is just I want you to want what you want not what you are told to want. This may be the greatest honor you can do yourself, define your own terms for happiness and strive for them.