Simple Living Works!

Posts Tagged ‘peer pressure

3856Sacrifice is in our heads. When we have enough, it is not a sacrifice or loss or deprivation to give up something we don’t really need.

In our affluent country, most of us have the privilege – not the “right”! – to decide our own needs, our own level of enough.

That level is determined by many factors – income, level of debt tolerance, morals, religion, up-bringing.

A big deciding factor, however, is the distinction between needs and wants. Basic human NEEDS are relatively easy to fulfill – food, shelter, love. WANTS are rarely ever satisfied. We are pulled by peer pressure, desire for status, and commercial messages (advertising) to fulfill more wants.

Needs are real. Wants are imaginary.

Giving up a want is not a sacrifice! That’s only in our heads. Giving up a real need is a real sacrifice.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief Activist

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Graphic – Worship Alternatives: Art #3856

1-A0299Let’s say what overconsumption really is. It’s addiction. And as with any addiction, it is powerful. It takes great will power, faith and tools to beat an addiction. It can be done. In our society, we are fighting numerous addictions – the “war on drugs.” The difference is that the addiction of overconsumption is not only condoned by our culture, not just allowed, it is encouraged, fed, promoted by peer pressure and by advertising. We are told it is patriotic to buy, that our economy depends on it, that we are worth it.

My Addiction

I have suffered an addiction most of my life. It may seem harmless, even beneficial. It surely can’t compare to the biggies like alcohol and tobacco. But it’s an addiction nonetheless and I have struggled to overcome it. For 40+ years, I was addicted to music. I built an enormous collection of scores and recordings. For a while, it gave me a sense of security to be surrounded by all this beauty. I could easily justify it. I could play it in church. I was enriching myself. I was growing esthetically. Actually I was hoarding. I had a need to own, to possess. As if that was going to make me or anyone else a better musician! And now I have given away most of this library. Do you happen to know anybody who could really use some scratchy classical records?

This example is part of a larger plan. Quite awhile ago I vowed to reduce my possessions by half by the time I was 50. I spent a few hours a week sorting, giving away, recycling. It was time-consuming but rewarding. It’s great to feel the burden of stuff lifted from my shoulders.

For help in dealing with the addiction of overconsumption, see 12 Steps to a Simpler Life, inspired by the 12 steps of AA.

Peace, Gerald