“… the only moisturizer with 100% softening power.”
“… and your wrinkles will be a thing of the past …”
“… with a splash of natural juicy pomegranate fragrance to keep you fresh …”
Somewhere, in all those pretty words, you’re programmed.
The key phrases lock you in to a belief system – nay – a need system so thick that you can’t remember what your life would be like without that miracle cream, those high-performance running shoes, or that lasagna that you KNOW will taste like a 4-year-old Amazon shipping box, but it looks so darned delicious on the tee-vee.
The Advertising Matrix is thick and strong. It kept us in a dream world for so very, very long that waking up from it is a lot like deprogramming. It’s work, and it’s confusing, but it’s ultimately one of the most liberating, freeing things you can do for yourself and your family.
Let it be known: I am still in the process of waking up, of breaking free.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I got to where I am from where I came from. And I realized it was a process. A real, honest-to-goodness step-by-step awakening.
If you’re still struggling with letting go of needing high-priced, oft-chemically-dangerous, and pretty packaged products – or if you know someone who could use a little encouragement – here are the 3 main steps I took to Breaking Free from the (Advertising) Matrix.
1. Reaching Awareness
The first step. Always. And, of course, it’s the hardest.
The first step of “awareness” can take months to fully set in. It all boils down to this: Being in tune with the fact that what you’re purchasing is healthy – physically, spiritually, and mentally – for yourself and the people you affect.
It’s being cognizant of a desired change, or a desired way of life. It’s knowing the difference between your internal motivations and your external pressures. Sure, you may want baby-smooth skin, but do you really believe that purchasing that $90 bottle of Clarins night creme is your only answer? Or did that ad get you? Did the pressure to have a name brand sink so deep into your psyche that you believe, somehow, you’re a better person than most for perching it on your nightstand?
(I’m not just talking expensive night creams – I’m talking cars, foods, clothing … you name it.)
Once you start becoming aware of your buying habits, you’ll start going through Imaginary Peer Pressure (IPP).
IPP happens when you start believing that other people actually care what you buy. They don’t. Nor do they judge you.
In fact, when you start making healthier, more conscious choices, people around you celebrate. They’re curious, and they want to know more. And even if they do look a little aghast when you say you’re washing your laundry with homemade detergent, somewhere deep inside, they’re rooting for you to show them that it works.
So the first step is being aware of your purchases – why you’re making them, what you believe they’ll do for you, and whether or not you’re just buying into IPP and advertising hype.
Shopping, while you’re going through this stage, will start taking you longer and longer, because the decisions will be harder and more confusing.
But it gets better, faster, and less painful the more you let yourself live in the awareness. I promise.
2. Finding Your Motivation
You’re stuck in front of the shampoos. You’re looking at all of the ingredient labels, unable to make sense of a one of them. Most of them contain a lot of -ates and -ides and -gobbledigooks that make you want to close your eyes, throw one into the cart blindly, and run from the store crying.
What’s the point of being aware, if you’re just stuck in the confusion of purchasing healthy products? What’s the point of being aware, if you don’t think you have the time to make your own household or beauty products?
What’s the point?
The point is your motivation.
Your motivation – whatever it may be – is completely valid and perfect for you. My motivation is simplicity and consciousness.
I do this because I’m happier when my life is simple, and my purchases reflect health and joy, rather than want and excess. I find that choosing my products (and making my own) always starts with this one simple question:
Might this purchase hurt me or the people who are affected by me in any way?
If the answer is yes, or even if I question the answer, most of the time I will not make the purchase. Sure, there are a thousand justifications you can make for any thing you may want. I still make tons of justifications (Diet Dr Pepper), but little by little I’m weeding out the things that offer more harm than goodness.
And “the people who are affected by me” includes not just my family and friends, but the people who make the products – are they exposed to harmful working conditions? Are they exploited? Does my purchase encourage the production of more toxins or harmful chemicals?
Your motivations, though, they might be wholly different. For instance, you might want:
- To save money
- To help the environment
- To be healthier
- To live more simply
- To be fully responsible for your health and the health of your family
- To experiment with a new way of living
- To be your own person, free from “the matrix”
Any of those reasons are valid. And there are probably a hundred-billion more.
But finding your own personal motivation helps you break through that awareness barrier and into the final step.
3. Changing Gradually
Every week, I’d go through this thing. On Saturday, I’d decide to make a sweeping change in my life: I’d go on a restrictive diet, write 15 chapters of a book in a week, decide that running 5 miles a morning was the only way to be healthier. I would make lists, schedules, lay out clothing or buy extra coffee to get me through. And I would start on Monday.
By Tuesday, the overwhelming task I’d set before me would hit. Cue the vodka tonics. And the laziness. And the That 70’s Show marathons.
We all know that slow and steady wins the race, and it’s the same when transitioning to homemade products … or even store-bought organic ones.
Once you’ve allowed yourself awareness and identified your motivation, you start changing. VERY gradually.
I started with laundry detergent. That was a big step. It took me a few months to believe in it and to be comfortable with it to move on to the next thing.
Your timetable, whatever it is, is perfect – as long as you’re comfortable with it.
The first step is always the hardest, but it’s the little steps in the middle that make the journey worth it.
So Crunchfucius say.
Once you start actively changing, though, you weave your way out of the Advertising Matrix – a place you didn’t even know you’d lived before.
And over here on the other side, it may not be all hearts and rainbows all the time, but it sure is real. Real and good and doggone satisfying.
Where Does the Matrix Still Have You?
Do you find yourself making purchases based solely on advertising and a belief they’ve instilled in you? What products do you still purchase that you’re pretty sure you couldn’t live without?
Do you think you could try to live without them for a few months, just to see how it goes?
Or do you have any of your own favorite mindset tips that you’ve used to break free of The Matrix?
I’m planning on writing another post with steps and tips to make the change gradually. Do you have any you definitely want to see in the post? Any small steps you’ve made that have made a huge difference in the long run?
I have just cancelled my cable TV service, (SuddenLink in central WV), because of the shear number, frequency and repetitive commercial barrages that infected any program or movie that my family and I tried to view.
Simply stated, I acted to protect my family from what can best be described as a constant brainwashing attack.
History, H2, The Science Channel, TLC, IFC, Discovery, National Geographic, Sundance and many more cable channels have shamelessly incorporated 40 percent, (sometimes more), of their broadcast time to commercials. In many one hour programs, the same commercial is repeated 5 times — and 10 commercials, (or more), are shown at a time. Many of these channels rerun the same program or movie in the same evening — with the same commercial assault.
Commonly, (almost always), 6 minutes of programming was followed by 5 minutes of commercial interuption — which begs the question, “how much is enough”?
Three minute commercials, (induction cookware), and 4 minute commercials, (Dragonspeak Voice Recognition), have become commonplace.
While viewing an expensive service for which I paid $95.00 per month, trying to dodge commercial assaults became a full time job, with remote in-hand. Many times, most members of my family could not recall what we had been trying to watch as the commercial bombardment went on, and on, and on. (I began to ask as an experiment, as I jumped around seeking an alternate view.)
When the service jumped to $125 last month, my mind was made up and the vote from the family members was unanimous.
I will seek alternates with such services as Netflix and Hulu et al. I will erect an outdoor antennae to receive the four broadcast networks and employ 2 or 3 DVRs to record — and later view — alternate channels. Skipping through the commercial assaults will become routine.
As the public backlash against advertising content/frequency during programming grows steadily louder, more and more TV viewers will devise similar alternatives for their viewing pleasure.
I started my journey to crunchiness I guess with breastfeeding. Sad how that is crunchy these days, right? Then I moved to homemade babyfood when I was appalled at the ingredients in jars. They smelled disgusting and tasted disgusting. I’m proud to say my twins never ate one bite of that nastiness.
Then their first sentence was, “That’s Momma’s coke.” I had to take a GOOD long look at myself. Nothing like having children to having a REAL mirror that talks to you tell you what is going on! I hated that. I would NEVER give them coke or even juice for that matter, so why was I pouring it down my throat 3 times a day? I would tell my friends, “if I ate the way I feed my kids, I’d be healthy.” Then I finally decided to start DOING that. It has been a slow journey, one that I’m still on. I now rarely drink any soda, maybe occasionally when I’m out. I ditched (almost) every single processed food in my house including condiments.
And now from Real Foods, I’ve moved into household products. It started when I ran out of 409. I’d read so many times on the internet “vinegar and water” so I just filled up that 409 bottle a few months ago with vinegar and water and started cleaning. And it WORKED. I’ve since added a bit of tea-tree oil and lemon oils, but I love my cleaner. Then I went ‘no poo (a work in progress) and next homemade laundry detergent. Finding your blog I started the OCM for my face at night. It’s a huge adventure for me!
I am also trying to give up paper products… no more paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silver ware, toilet paper (I’ll keep some on hand for my husband who is like H*LL NO & guests), and paper towels. I still have all of those in my house but they are from my last purchase and they sure are lasting a loooooong time! I don’t “need” them, they were just a blind convenience. I also switched the 3 yr olds night time pullups for cloth waterproof trainers.
One thing… I am having a hard time giving up is my hair dye. I love being blonde, I’ve been blonde my entire life. The few times I let my hair go back to it’s brunette I didn’t feel like ME. (My hair didn’t get dark until college, so that’s when I started dyeing it.) By college ate it was part of my identity. I know I’m NOT my hair, but it is hard to separate myself from it!
Didn’t mean to write a novel here, just a passionate crunchy here and your post sparked a flame of excitment!
Hi there, crunchers–what a serendipitous pleasure it’s been, stumbling upon this blog!
This post really spoke to me. I like to think of myself as an intelligent, conscious person, but I have felt increasingly “taken in” by the status quo of being an adult in the U.S.–the marketing-fueled shopping experiences, the gotta-have-it consumer urges, the droning boredom of the incessantly “on” TV… and I’ve been feeling crappy about it, but rather unmotivated to change. Find this blog has been like a spring breeze in a LOOONG midwestern winter. This particular post is a great reminder to focus on the things that really make us happy, not the things that advertising think tanks create an empty desire for.
Also, going slowly is key! For instance, I’ve decided to go no ‘poo. I also want to try the only oil cleanse for my face. I’m gonna start small: one thing at a time. Less chance of giving up.
Thanks for this inspiring blog. 🙂
Yep, my blinders are off and I walk around amazed at the cloud of ignorance I used to be in and wonder what else have I been deluded about.
Loved this line of yours, “…health and joy, rather than want and excess”. That’s where I want to live!
I haven’t watched TV in over five years and I am so much happier for it. One, I have so much time to read, play with my dog, and make my own crunchy food/house/beauty products. And I don’t have advertisers telling me I’m not good enough just the way I am.
This is a great post! I have just started my journey out of the matrix and it has been…interesting. For sure. I have had so many moments just like you said:
“Youâ€™re stuck in front of the shampoos. Youâ€™re looking at all of the ingredient labels, unable to make sense of a one of them […] you want to close your eyes, throw one into the cart blindly, and run from the store crying. Whatâ€™s the point of being aware, if youâ€™re just stuck in the confusion of purchasing healthy products?”
Confusion for sure! I would expand upon that, but you clearly understand where I’m coming from already! It’d also end up being the size of the entire Harry Potter series, so I’ll refrain. But I will say, I am seriously looking forward to your steps and tricks post!
Diet Pepsi is my ultimate weakness. Just ask klgas up there about it.
Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
You know where I stand on this. Anything that advertizes it’s greatness is likely lying.