Each day in the U.S. we are exposed to 5,000 advertisements that tell us that we can be happy by purchasing x, y, or z. Deep down though, we know that happiness can’t be bought, it must be cultivated from within. In fact, in recent years, numerous studies have shown a link between gratitude and happiness. It turns out, the more thankful we are, the more contented we feel. And isn’t that what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about? Surrounding ourselves with our loved ones and taking a day from our busy lives to slow down and fill up on the good stuff (yes, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, but also connection, appreciation, and joy). Yet the sirens’ call of discounts and deals are stronger than ever at this time of year, and we find ourselves seduced by the “savings” and “value” that greedy retailers promise on their top performing sales day of the year.
I, too, was once a believer in Black Friday deals. It was a long-standing tradition that my mom, my sister and I would faithfully seek out a newspaper every Thanksgiving Day, not because of our interest in current events, but for the big box retailers’ print ads. We’d eagerly spread out the pages to see what the best deals were, find out what absurd hour of the morning each store would open, and plan our Christmas shopping route accordingly for the following day. Sometimes we would stand in line at 3am so we could get the best “door buster” deals, whether they be $5 fleece pullovers, $7 DVDs, or kitchen appliances at such low prices it seemed crazy not to. (Never mind we already owned more clothes than we needed, rarely watched DVDs, and had no room to store said appliance in our already stuffed kitchen cabinets.) For years we celebrated this custom, never questioning the absurdity of the crowds and the madness. We believed we were saving money by buying this stuff. Families all across the nation have bought into the myth of black Friday. It’s only in the last several years that I’ve adopted a new, less consumer-driven mindset about the holidays and their true meaning. I’ve grown a new appreciation for time with family, as time is truly our greatest gift to one another, not the latest gadget or obligatory present under the tree.
The truth is, many of us end up feeling burdened by all the stuff that our homes have collected from many years of doorbuster deals and gifts we didn’t love from people we do. This Black Friday, I invite you to consider that it isn’t a good deal if you don’t need it. Rather than purchasing more stuff that will sooner or later become viewed as more clutter to stress us out and make us feel inadequate, how about we first take a look at what we already own, express our gratitude for it, and let go of all the excess stuff weighing us down? My mission as a Konmari Consultant is to help my clients stop and see the abundance that surrounds them, and to honor and cherish the items that are truly special. In the process, we identify items that have already fulfilled their purpose, express gratitude for those things too, and let them go.
If you’re ready to try a different approach to increasing your happiness and gratitude for the abundance in your life, consider giving the Konmari Method a try. This tidying philosophy is about surrounding yourself with joy and letting go of the rest. After all, we only get what we truly want by letting go of what we don’t.