October 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm #85973ZitaParticipant
I am not sure how many of you can relate to this. But lately I have been feeling very overwhelmed about my shopping habits. I tend to shop a lot sometimes more than I can afford. It makes me happy, the colors, the touch of the fabric, the momentary glitter in my eyes when I see myself in the mirror looking gook in a dress. Sometimes, I even imagine myself in a particular outfit for a few minutes, which is often followed by instantaneous feeling of confidence. A friend once pointed out and I took it very personally, that “my shopping behavior is not healthy, I am trying to fill a void perhaps”. Perhaps I am or perhaps I am not, I can’t come to terms with it yet. But the other day I sort of had an epiphany- no matter how many clothes I own, I am never fully satisfied or happy. The happiness last few hours and then turns into anxiety and guilt.
Sometimes I feel like I am trying to compensate for something.. what that something is .. I don’t know. When I snap out of my shopping sprees, I realize how sad it is that I resort to such behavior. I feel like I have not done enough in life. I am in my mid twenties , single, still attending graduate school while people around me are settling down and have a stable life. When I buy clothes, I feel in control of my life… as if I have something going on for me as well.
Wow !!! I just read the above paragraph and it makes me sound like such a sad as a person lol. I know I have a lot to be proud of, things I have accomplished (in a rational world) but my shopping behavior definitely points to a distorted thought process(the feeling of not having done enough). I am just not able to figure out how to stop this habit which is costing me a fortune. If there was a rehab for shopping addicts I’d admit myself. Any suggestions about how you have managed to overcome the need to compensate the feeling of void without maxing out your credit cards or engaging in endless cycle of owning material possessions ?October 24, 2015 at 6:11 am #85997InkyParticipant
There’s a saying, “You can have/do/see/be everything, but not all at once.”
What I do for things that I shamelessly or shamefully adore is to make it into an event, not a habit.
So I like smoking and iPhone games. I only do them, however, at eight specific times a year and at the random times when my DH goes on a business trip. That way I have something to look forward to AND there is that element of surprise! Those days are then wasted, basically! Otherwise if I do them “whenever” my life really would be sad.
For shopping ~ Mark your calendars in advance! Every month and a half buy ONE outfit or ONE expensive piece! If you spend more than a certain amount (only you know what that is) you’ve gone too far. Use budgeting as a game ~ to get the best deals for the best look. Use that time in between shopping to figure out what you REALLY want and need.
Of course, you’re going to have to do something to fill in the void between mall trips.
And DON’T put yourself down for being single and in graduate school! I had a family at twenty five and now have to figure out “what I’ll be when I grow up”. I wish I were in grad school, actually!
InkyOctober 24, 2015 at 9:17 am #86002AnonymousGuest
Your shopping is a problem for you because it drains your finances and because following the good feeling you feel anxiety and guilt. You asked ” to overcome the need to compensate the feeling of void…” – I am supposing your feeling of void follows certain repeating thoughts (often automatic, so you are not even aware of the words of the thought, you only feel distress, that void you mentioned) that you are not okay, meaning you didn’t accomplish enough etc., thoughts that you are not doing okay compared to others or otherwise. Your Internal Critic is feeding you with messages that cause you distress. The shopping is a nice BREAK from that distress.
My answers or suggestions: at one point you may somehow feel empathy for yourself for needing a break from your ongoing Inner Critic, no wonder you need a break, understand your motivation to shop and how it makes sense, how it is your cry for help, your need for mental quiet and well being…..expose the inner critic: what are the thoughts (and no wonder they make you feel distress…), detect those thoughts. Get to know the Inner Critic, its origins. Does he have merit- are the thoughts justified in reality. Why is the feeling so convincing (again, the origin of that negative, critical Internal Critic, when did it start?) There is more, but what do you think so far.
anitaOctober 27, 2015 at 10:31 am #86224ZitaParticipant
@inky- Those are some very practical actions to take. Thank you, I am happy to be working towards a career but I guess when you start comparing yourself to others around your age, that is when things start to look slow and hazy.
@newlife123- My feeling of void comes from a need to find comfort when things are uncomfortable, be it finding comfort in new clothes, casual dates or relationships ( often unhealthy ones). There is always this longing for comfort, even right now as I am typing this, there is an underlying anxiety and distress and my mind automatically draws me to momentarily releases ( thought about smoking too but haven’t started that yet). I really struggle to find comfort within myself.October 27, 2015 at 11:00 am #86231AnonymousGuest
The reason you need to find comfort any which way is because often enough you are distressed. If you learn to address the distress directly, to calm yourself automatically, you will be drawn less and less to distract yourself from the distress. The distress in reality is a result of a neurological pathway, a connection between neurons in the brain, involving thoughts and emotions, energy and chemicals. There is a way to calm those pathways, or I should say ways. One way is shopping. There are others. Find ways that do not harm you…?
anitaOctober 27, 2015 at 11:29 am #86235JenniferParticipant
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I can relate to it…I’m now 33 but back when I was in my twenties…I did the same cycle. I was working near a shopping district. I would reward myself with expensive handbags and clothes. I felt like I worked so hard through school & at my job, so I deserved it. Wearing it gave me status, gave me power and I proudly show it off….I would not look at the bill because I know that eventually, I can somehow cover it…
I didn’t “snap out” until I left my job working near the shopping district. I realized that being in that area was toxic for me. Just as smokers would be inclined to smoke if they were in a bar….I was being lured into “retail therapy” by the displays and sales…almost an addiction.
Perhaps one thing you can do is try to avoid the shopping malls/areas for abit. Think of other things you enjoy. Is there a hobby, sports or something else you like to do? I found doing yoga helps as it keeps me grounded. When the mind & body are better connected, things start to become abit more clear.
Another thing is to try and hang out with people who are like you. ie. graduates or others in the faculty. I am currently unmarried with no kids at 33, and most of my friends are married with kids…but then I ask…where does happiness come from?
It does not come from having kids & settling down. It does not come from buying things (well just a temporary high hehe). It comes from doing what we love deep down inside.
I wish you the best of luck Zita! It’s a crazy world we live in….being aware is already amazing!