How Has Out Attitude Towards Objects Changed?
By nature, humanbeings are fond of new things and excitement. The moment they run out of those things, they want to replace them with a new source of excitement. At first sight, this might seem like the reason why we get bored of things we have just purchased. However, once you go deeper, you get to see a host of other reasons.
First of all, we all know and accept that we live in a culture of utmost consumerism. Nowadays, the life of an object isn’t measured by its functionality but simply by the period of time “we are willing to use it”. We buy new things more frequently, we consume at a greater extent, and we produce more waste than ever. We have moved away from our “old” and trusted habits such as repairing and upcycling. So, in a world where the meanings imposed on objects have drastically changed and continues to do so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we get bored of things quickly. Had our approach to things been based on their functionality and usability, the lifespan of an object would not be limited to the limits of our excitement and boredom. It would not take us such a short period of time to “consume things emotionally”. These all suggest that we have some underlying motivations for buying stuff.
Why Do We Buy Stuff?
If we want to understand why we get bored of things we purchase, we must first understand why we buy them in the first place. It is important to understand what the feeling we are after is. Let’s say you bought this dress and you have got bored of it shortly after, you don’t want to where it anymore. Well then, what was the reason for you to buy it in the first place? What did that dress mean to you and what did you associate it with? Did you really need the dress or were you hoping to change certain things in yourself by purchasing the dress? You can ask yourself a host of questions to understand the true motivation behind purchasing the dress. If you saw a dress, fell in love with it, wore it a couple of times, and never touched it again, that means there is something else at play here. You did not particularly care about buying the dress. You cared about what that dress represents or what you think it represents. You were hoping to buy those values, the status and emotions that you thought came with the dress, but you were disappointed to open the package and find the dress and only the dress within it. And, all of a sudden, the dress fell short of your expectations.
What makes us feel good about buying stuff is the instant gratification we get from it. When we buy something our reward systems get activated, we get a short-lived sense of gratification. When the life span of that instant gratification comes to an end, so does that of the thing you have purchased. You immediately want to buy something new so that you can get the same instant gratification and sense of satisfaction. It somewhat resembles addictive behaviour, it shortens the lifespan of the satisfaction we get from stuff, leaving us with the instant gratification.
Nowadays, it is almost impossible to see things for what they are. When the last month’s trend is nowhere near this month’s, where the shoes of last spring has no resemblance to those of this spring, you cannot put the blame on the customer alone. Most of the things we buy are designed to make us get bored of them quickly anyways. Amongst all that variety, when everything is within our reach, when we are constantly being encouraged to buy more with never-ending sales and promotions, how can we expect not to get bored of stuff within a matter of two weeks?
What is the Solution?
It is obvious that getting bored too quickly is no use to anyone. If your wardrobe is full of clothes you haven’t actually seen in months or years, if you’re house is filled with things you regret buying, then you need an intervention. But how? There is no easy or one-size-fits-all solution. However, asking yourself why you want to buy a certain thing, trying to understand your true needs and hidden expectations from stuff is a good way to start. If possible, avoid buying something the moment you see it. Wait for a while, for a few days of even weeks if possible, to see if you actually really want it or need it. This will help you with buyer’s remorse. It is also a good idea to review your habits of consumption. Don’t forget that everything you buy is potential waste, which has an impact on the environment. At the end of the day, you are not only harming your own pocket, but also the whole environment.