“… 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?