Nabeela Vadi – Cii News | 15 Rabi ul Akhir 1437/26 January 2016

Consumerism is making our society a slave to the dollar. We are spending too much money on things we do not need. We are spending more money than we can afford. And we are spending our hard earned money for a lifestyle we cannot keep up with. This is the reality of consumerism and the clutch it has on our society.

Consumer Psychology

When you are feeling a little down, a friend makes a suggestion and all roads leads to – ‘retail therapy’. My tummy cringes when I hear this word.

Retail therapy is a so called feel-good action of buying fancy things to make you feel better. But it is definitely more than the urban-saying goes. And the more you shop when you feel down, the more it becomes a subconscious response of your mind to make you feel better.

But does ‘Retail Therapy’ really work?

Retail Therapy is just another way to trick your mind into shoving aside your emotions through your credit card. Retail therapy is another word for disaster. And with fashion companies taking the slogan to business, many young hearts are falling into this serious trap.

Retail therapy is a trap because you often disguise your feelings into purchasing something of material value – irrespective whether or not it’s needed. You are thereafter left with a hefty bill and items you don’t have use for. But being a reactive response, you still continue to go to the mall and swipe your card the next time you get the ‘feels’. This often leads to hoarding and debt.

If hoarding and debt aren’t serious enough of an issue for you, realize too, that your emotions are a mess and your life needs organization.

Here are 3 signs that you are a slave to consumerism:

1.      You seek happiness in consuming; often, you want to buy items because you ‘feel’ that it will make you happy. Once bought, you realize that the item doesn’t make you happy or has given you a temporary or false happiness.

2.      You want to buy expensive items; You seek something that you are sometimes told you cannot have or cannot afford because it is too expensive. You ‘think’ you have achieved something when you have purchased that item without little realization of the debt incurred or the large bite into your assets.

3.      You always seem to want more; buying one or two items is never enough. You just want to shop all the time. Something about your purchase gives you a short-lasting happiness, but you insist this is the happiness you crave. So the logic is that ‘you buy more to get more happiness’.

How to undo the damage?

The damage of a consumer lifestyle, can be undone. You just have to follow a few tips in conjunction with the following invocations.

Sort through your emotions don’t push it aside. When you are feeling down, you do not need to take to the mall to find happiness. You simply need to write down your feelings onto a paper or chat to a friend you trust. See a therapist or a counsellor. Confront the issues at hand until you see an improvement in your mood.

Question yourself. You are perusing through the mall and you have spotted all sorts of items that you know ‘you gotta get’. Stop yourself and ask yourself three important questions.

1.      Do I need this? (Have I got use for this?)

2.      Can I afford this?

3.      Will buying this item solve the issue at hand?

If you say no to any of those answers, step away from the item and proceed. You should not buy it.

A great tip is to stay away from the mall unless you require a certain thing. If you don’t go to the mall, you won’t be pushed into buying anything that you don’t need.

Aalimah Ayesha, has also recommended that before you enter a shop, recite the fourth Kalimah with intention that Allah must guide you to what is good for you and that barakah lays within and there is use in it for you. Make this a habit, it has been proven that what you seek will be found -if there is goodness in it for you.

Another advice, is to recite “Allahumma khirlee wakh tarlee”. This is a short istikhaara duaa for Allah to guide you on the decision you want made for you. An answer will come to you in your heart and you will know whether that particular thing will be of benefit to you or not.

Most importantly, realize that you do not want to be a person that is dependent on material things. Our aim, is to actually distance ourselves and detach ourselves from material things. Don’t be sucked up into a superficial consumer society. Because money doesn’t buy happiness, but good ethic does.