This photo (right) was taken recently and it has summed up my approach to almost all the "shopping" I've done lately (well, except shopping done in grocery stores and other utilitarian places like shoe repairers, video stores, dry cleaners -- can you imagine if it weren't? Imagine walking into the Blue & White Dry Cleaners - "just browsing!").
Just Looking. If one is "just looking", does that actually qualify as "shopping"? I looked it up and there seems to be some grey area here. Shopping is defined as having some intention to it, namely the intention to purchase.
My little win. Today, we were wandering around the swanky suburb of Ponsonby in Auckland. We came across a nice-looking pre-loved store called Encore: Fashion Recycle. When we first saw it, my reaction was immediate: do not go in that shop! Possible danger! It was almost a physical aversion and it happened before my brain had time to join the party. It was only after I was fortified with a bottle of organic apple & pear juice that I had to time to actually consider the situation. Thus fortified (in all manner of ways), I was able to untangle those jumbled thoughts and decided that I could, if I wanted, have a quick look in this store as we passed it going back. And this I did. At the threshold, I spoke quite firmly to myself but with Dan as my witness, saying "I'm going in! But I'm not buying anything!". A woman coming out of the store gave us a smile and making a fairly natural assumption, assumed I was talking to my husband and not myself. She said "you negotiate girl!" I should've got her number.
I like clothes. Ok, let's have a collective Homer Simpson moment of "duh!" here. I have a walk-in wardrobe of generous proportions and it is filled with clothing I have lovingly collected over a long period of time. So it's pretty obvious that I like clothes (and some of them quite like me, too, I've discovered, although others do not appear to like me as much if their less-than-flattering appearance on my body is anything to go by. Items such as those usually are exited fairly swiftly once their true feelings about me are discovered).
So, looking at clothes is something that I enjoy. Why shouldn't I look at it? Whilst I do not wish to spend my life in a state of "just looking", I also don't want to feel that clothing stores are the enemy and that I cannot enjoy being inside them from time to time. Now that I get down to it, the pattern I have been trying to break is:
- oooh - look at this! Isn't this lovely, how gorgeous, (appreciating noises)
- I must possess it
This is really the heart of the matter. The soul and centre of it. It's the vanilla essence of the challenge.
What is it not? When I worked with corporate clients doing stuff around strategy, well, we never called it 'stuff' to start with, but I would usually suggest that when they think about what they want, they also think about the opposite. It can be very illuminating to think of what you don't want - it can help shed more or a different light on what you do want. This is called "moving away from" goals or ideas or thoughts or whatever it is for you. Someone a lot smarter than me thought that one up, but it's a good one to use when you remember to. So, it's a good thing for me to consider what this challenge is not.
The challenge is not to attempt to stop enjoying clothes. I would need the assistance of a large ice pick and a medical officer with dubious ethical standards to effect such a change in my personality and personal preferences. And hey, I gotta be me, right? You could have a go at being me (and some days I'd happily outsource the job of being me), but it probably wouldn't work out real well. And the me that I am loves and appreciates clothes.
The challenge is not to avoid clothing stores. What's tripped me up about this one is that gamblers avoid casinos. And alcoholics avoid bars. And drug addicts avoid particular street corners or private schools where they purchase their drugs. (ok, so that's a joke there about private schools, no offence meant for any particular private school or the private school system in its totality, in any state, territory, county, region, country, continent or in any area located anywhere in the known solar system. really). But I'm trying to get my head around this one, so I can have more positive experiences like I did in Encore today. I enjoyed looking at what they had (lots of black, as it turned out) but I didn't buy anything AND I didn't feel particularly inclined to buy anything. I just enjoyed being in there, having a quick squiz around, and moseying on with my day.
Still looking? No. When I know I'm not going to buy anything, it changes the way I look at clothing in stores. The intention to buy is not there. Maybe I'm further along in breaking the pattern than I give myself credit for. Wouldn't that be good news. Right?