It’s old news. We’re a society of consumers. We want to have everything newer, bigger, faster, smarter, cleaner, clearer. Or just better.
Better phones. Better cars. Better homes (and gardens). Better diets. Better workout plans. Better jobs. Better Schools. Better churches. Better friends. Better wives. Better husbands.
Better… “Better” is driven by comparison.
“Comparison is the thief of Joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
If that’s true, then chasing “better” will only lead to “bitter.” Consumerism steals the thing that it promises.
Not that new things are bad. Don’t misunderstand. Things wear out or break down beyond repair and need to be replaced. The question is not whether to replace the old with the new. The question is when is it useful to replace the old? When is it right?
There is a type of consumerism that is unhelpful or useless. It comes from a consumer that can never be content or satisfied with what they have.
There is a type of consumerism that is wrong. It comes from a consumer whose discontent has spread to their relationships. They are not only discontent with their things. They have no commitment to people.
Both types of consumers are fueled by the speed of change. The faster new things or people are available, the greater their discontent.
It serves no one to rail against the system or the economy and say that we have to slow things down. It is only helpful to choose for yourself to slow down. Slow down and be content with what you have. Slow down and commit to the people in your life.
For some, it will be easier to start with commitment. For others, it will be easier to start with contentment. Both are attitudes that will foster satisfaction and joy rather than steal it.
Someone once said that contentment is wanting what you have, not having what you want. Likewise, I think that commitment is wanting the friends you have, not having the friends you want.