Wednesday, November 24, 2010
# 13 Shopping
In time for the American holidays of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, here's a toast to the start of a great new American tradition: shopping addiction. I really like purely behavioral addictions like Compulsive Buying Disorder. Shopping is not an inborn desire. It's not psychoactive, like alcohol. But it's as real as a repo man's kick in the teeth. It's the kind of thing that makes narrow-minded pop evolutionary psychologists come up with the most ridiculous (though very creative) theories. But I digress...
To the point of this post: While most people aren't "shopaholics", low self-esteem often leads to the development of similar tendencies. A low self-concept (self-esteem) as I've mentioned before, causes depression. It is most often caused by a parent's negation of their child's individuality (not the best word, but it'll have to do), which, in the West today, is usually done by being overly-critical. Getting something you want shows that another person recognizes and validates your desires and, therefore, you. Buying something that is "just so you", also provides this external validation -just like listening to certain music, eating certain foods, following less standard religions, etc. (Congratulations! You are now part of the Narcissistic personality type. You do have an identity after all!)
Of course, as I've said ad nauseum, this doesn't fix your problem of a low self concept, the root of all your other problems. Though it quiets your anxiety for a while, as long as you keep feeding it money. And how bad could some invisible baggage really be?