Shopping the Blues away

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"Shopping the Blues away"
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 Seeing this title makes mild mannered intellectual types go ballistic.  Suggesting that you can shop your blues away is so damaging on so many levels.  We typically are shopping for something that makes us feel good about ourselves.  We do not want to know why we are so inadequate we feel we need junk in the first place.

 It is, it must be admitted, sometimes harmless, and even therapeutic to shop.   If you have truly low self esteem and only feel good when you are subservient to others, you may actually need to get out there and buy yourself a long overdue painting, or antique lamp, or pair of shoes, or whatever it is that a person needs to realize they should be entitled to have some kind of indulgence.  But by far, most of us have the opposite problem.  We own too much stuff.  We leave the house to go to the mall, just to get away from the clutter!

It is crucial to remember that shopping is what we routinely do, most of us, as a kind of zombie habit that keeps us from addressing the true hole in the soul emptiness that is really making you feel like you need any kind of therapy in the first place.  The" Why" of how you came to need therapeutic shopping, or six weeks of intense cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, must be addressed.

In Ecopsychology, we learn that -surprise!—you evolved from the earth, live on the earth, are sustained by earth, (and this includes air, water, soil, minerals and of course animal, and plant life) and your mental, emotional, as well as physical health is extremely relevant to your relationships to nature, and to other living things.  This includes, primarily for most of us,  (who aren’t fanatics living with lion cubs, running with the wolves, or hanging from rain forest canopies keeping tabs on the lungs of our planet,) this includes our human relationships, our family, our spouse, our kids.  We often find ways to “sorta” be with them, such as when shopping, in place of true bonding activities. There are just times in life when having to talk to your spouse is something you wish to avoid. There are stages of childhood where we would rather not have to go through the awkward process of being seen, much less bonding, with our parents.

It must also be emphasized that consumption is a huge addiction on our planet.  We end up buying stuff we don’t really need.  We do not even wish to know the toxins or wasted resources, or the human rights abuse, involved in the creation of disposable stuff.  We all have to live in denial.  Make no mistake, even the brightest people who know all of this must live in denial. We feel powerless to not buy that plastic bottle, or to resist that cheap carcinogenic plastic lined metal can.  We do not even feel we have room in our psyche for more bad news.  So we shop more.  We especially do not want to know where this stuff ends up.  It ends up hurting air quality, destroying wildlife, causing asthma and so many other diseases. It ends up in poor places, whether here or abroad, because we always dump our toxic waste on those least able to fight it.

We also shop to justify our entitlement sense.  If we can do it, and everyone can do it, it must be right to do it. Right?  Wrong. If there is sadness in your heart you must address it.  If you are not connected to wilderness, clean air, fresh water, or rich productive soil, you have to get out more.  Concrete and steel, malls and cubicles, belching engines and bleeping machines, consumption, and endless cycles of traffic and foraging for more junk is disconnecting you from the source of your life and health.

More about this author: Christyl Rivers

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