G'day and welcome to blog #57. Being 7 months into the challenge, it's probably a good time for me to deliver some pearls. Not the freshwater kind, mind, but the wisdom kind. Surely I've learned something that can be distilled in 5 neatly organised points, right?
So, let's imagine we were sitting together over a glass or three of Shiraz (which I had a few too many of last night and am feeling slightly icky today as a result), and you were to ask, as people do:
"So, what's your advice for other shopaholics?"
I mean, that question is on everybody's lips, isn't it?
Let's pretend it is. So you've asked. The question is hanging in the air. I might pause for dramatic effect, take a ladylike sip of my full bodied red (that's the wine I'm talking about now, people) and say something like this.
1. It's ok to love clothes. Clothes are there to be enjoyed, loved, taken on holiday. Recognising you are a recovering shopaholic should not mean that your enjoyment, heck let's just say it - love, of clothes need change. You can still enjoy them. Clothes are fun, they have meaning, they can be a form of personal expression. You just don't need to keep buying them at such a rapid and unrelenting pace. Right?
2. You wanna work out why you buy. With few exceptions, the purchase of almost any item you can think of is more than just about the thing or the money. There's usually some emotions involved, some psychology at play. Exploring what shopping means for you, what need it is plying, is important. Why? Because it'll help unhook you from it, that's why. If you shop when you feel low as a way to perk you up, and you realise this, you've now got better choices. So next time you feel low, you can check in first and make a better choice than to go shopping as a reflex action. Right?
3. Think what else you can do - with your time, money and energy. Being a world class shopper takes a lot of time. Imagine what else you could be doing if you spent less time spending and more time living. Being a world class shopper takes a lot of money. Imagine what you could do if you invested or saved that money, or spent it in a way that enriched your experience of life. Being a world class shopper takes a lot of energy. Imagine what other ways you could direct your precious energy if you weren't spending it spending (see blog #15 where I turned my energy into jewellery design for a day. So not only did I use my creative energy, I used it in an area that I love - adornment of the body!). Right?
4. Resistance may be futile but avoidance works. I talked about this before in blog #25 and to quickly recap: avoiding temptation by not going anywhere near shops is a strategy that works, so why not use it? Sure, it's not a very, well, advanced strategy - it's more sledgehammer than fine scalpel - but it's effective. You don't have to slay your shopaholic dragon in one single day, and you may still feel the pull of the shops when you first start exploring why it is you shop so much. Set yourself up to succeed during the tough early days -- stay out of the shops. Why surround yourself with unnecessary temptation. Right?
5. Remember that the fashion industry's job is to sell you stuff. The fashion industry is one of the most profitable in the world. And why? Because they have worked out how to sell us stuff - more stuff than we need. They use terms like Must Haves (which I blogged about in April). They create in us a bottomless pit of desire for new things to add to our wardrobes. They inform us in authoritative tones about what's in and why. When we are vulnerable to these messages, they can literally be irresistible. And here's what I reckon about is the real purpose of those fashion shows. Remember that the fashion industry's job is to sell you stuff - just keeping this in mind can make it easier to work out what you want, rather than what it is they want to sell you. Right?
And if you are a shopaholic and want to have your own Year Without Clothes Shopping, let me know if you want to be inspired and supported as you do it. I may just have something for you....
So there you have it, clothes fans. My Friday afternoon wisdom for recovering shopaholics. Ask me next week, and I may tell you something different. But for now, there endeth the lesson. Wasn't too painful. Right?