Most of us are hedonistic; what’s life without seeking a little pleasure or indulgence from time to time?
As humans, we go through life seeking gratification and happiness from our actions.
But what if the good is never good enough?
We all like to think that we’re the most appreciative and grateful people around, but truthfully, who can claim that to be true 24/7?!
Living in a capitalist consumer society, it’d be pretty tricky to confidently say that you’re not a slave to it’s ideals. Going off hard evidence, I can certainly say that I purchase way too many clothes, that I get barely any wear out of.
This in turn reflects my constant need for satisfaction; looking for a quick-fix of happiness from a spot of the aptly named ‘Retail Therapy.’
Retail therapy was clearly a phrase invented by someone rather hopeful, and frankly shallow. Let’s say it how it is; it’s filling an emotional void, with a (often) thoughtless expenditure.
Stressed at work? Buy a dress.
Unsatisfied in your relationship? Ignore all that food you have in the fridge, and order a takeaway. It’s sure to mend your breaking heart.
Now, I know I’m not practicing what I preach here (and this is getting rather preachy; I may well burst into Joyful Joyful à la Sister Act 2 right this very second), but I’m writing this as a reminder to myself too.
A reminder that dissatisfaction is normal.
In a world saturated with images of people living ‘perfect’ lives prancing around in ‘for love and lemons’ underwear, after their fourth coconut water of the day, about to go to bed with their rock star boyfriends, it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed, or inadequate.
*Types whilst wearing Jonas Brothers Tour tee circa 2009, whilst finishing off a pack of ASDA value pringles*
How do I deal with moments of dissatisfaction you may ask? Well…
This is pretty much my answer for everything.
I love to talk, which just about anyone who knows me will agree with! I truly believe that one of the biggest tools in healing and feeling good about yourself, lies not only in talking to your family/friends about what’s bothering you, but also to discuss your feels publicly (if you can, I realise this is daunting).
The more conversations that take place, the less alone you’ll feel. You will realise that you aren’t alone in your thoughts. You can have the richest, most successful life in the world, and still feel empty. Possessions and status don’t equate to good mental health and/or true happiness.
Don’t be afraid to speak out about your emotions.
Stop for a second, and think about what you do have. No not how many shoes you own, but about positive attributes of your own personality, your family and friends etc.
Count your privileges, then make them count.
We have so much to be thankful for. Use the gifts that you’ve been given, as there will always be someone less fortunate than you just praying for an ounce of what you have.
I know this isn’t an easy task for someone suffering with their mental health. I’ve been there when BDD kicks in, and you start insulting and tearing yourself down for your physicality, and someone else will say “be thankful you have x, y and z”, or “at least you’re healthy” etc. You do understand that it could get a lot worse, but your brain doesn’t allow you to think rationally, but have a try. It gets easier, I promise.
RETHINK RETAIL THERAPY
If like me, spending money (you often don’t have) is your way of dealing with emptiness, then make sure whatever money you are spending is a worthwhile purchase that will enrich your life emotionally, rather than simply take up more wardrobe space.
Book a trip. Then your mind will forever be filled up with memories of travel.
Buy a gym membership. That way you can occupy your brain with exercise, then enjoy those sweet post-workout endorphins.
I understand that this isn’t easy to do, especially when it’s two for Tuesday, or when ASOS are doing a discount. But again, making your purchases carry longevity will get you further in life, rather than just being another £7.99 deducted from your account because you impulsively bought something pointless.
In conclusion, (gosh that makes this sound like a proper essay, apologies) it’s normal to not feel satisfied, and to question whether you’re getting enough from life.
I do it all the time. I constantly feel like I want more out of my days; to achieve things, to feel euphoric every moment of the day. However, that’s not life, at least not at every second of every day.
Let’s not forget that life is pretty f*cking cool in general. Even if we aren’t a member of the Rolling Stones and we don’t have the face of Mila Kunis.
Sometimes we need to realise that even breathing is phenomenal enough.
Emily Rose Jackson