I work in the field of education. My days are spent creating meaningful experiences for children in hopes of inspiring them to take greater steps to acknowledge the world’s endless possibilities. I love what I do. One of the things I get to do as an educator is sit back at times and observe behaviorism and what may even be considered “childish” things (after all, they are children). One of the common things I run across is children finding their acceptance through friendships with classmates. Sometimes, I get to see children bicker and fuss over not playing fairly or wanting something because another child has something. Not for the fact that they really want that thing, but because of the person has it, they want it.
Observing moments where children behave this way becomes a subtle reminder of how those tendencies don’t always fade away when we become adults. As a matter of fact, they only amplify as we grow older and learn that ‘acceptance’ is a module we tend to construct through buying possessions in hopes of accomplishing the “I’m Accepted Syndrome”. Surely that name probably doesn’t exist on paper but it’s probably worded and defined similarly through research. I bet if we even look within ourselves, we can see how materialism and discontentedness has shaped our connections with others. The reason behind our purchases and consumption will tell us much about our need for acceptance. You don’t believe me, here’s why:
- When we feel insecure about our image, we swipe away at the local New York and Company because we want people to take us seriously or at least we want people to believe we are serious about looking a certain way. This drug wears off quickly so we swallow down the shopping pill almost weekly. (Nothing against New York and Company by the way:) )
- We might hang around a certain group of people because we identify them as being socially progressive or popular among other crowds. To fit in, it requires high expenditures on clothing, technology, or eating out at fancy restaurants. So we’ll sacrifice healthy eating for restaurant glamour with people we don’t even particularly like.
- We view bundles of advertisements that tell you that you have to have this or that in order to feel confident or accepted. After all, that two thousand dollar high-speed lawnmower will create more time for your family and when you purchase three for the price of two furniture sets, you’re actually saving more. Better yet, you can have it right now if you enter the payment plan with low interest. The neighbors have six, you need three more to “feel” accepted. The comparison game is deadly.
This is why minimalism is a path worth pursuing.