Corona closed many commercial doors, but it opened up our awareness of our consuming behaviour. As from now on, our consuming pattern should change for the better, because Corona showed us the secret to genuine happiness without consuming.
Only essentials were allowed: essential movements, essential visits, essential shopping. All other businesses and shops turned inwards or shut down. Suddenly we were asked to define the essentials of our lives.
The ‘good to have’ versus the ‘must have’. The ‘Good to do’ versus the ‘Must do’.
Only the shops that sold essentials could stay open, but what are essentials? Most countries defined them as pharmacies and grocery stores, some added hair dressers and liquor stores. Medication and groceries are understandable essential, but what with the others?
They aren’t essential for physical survival, but they could be essential for the psychological survival of some.
Corona challenged the material consumerism that’s at the base of our capitalistic societies. Corona questioned our status and meaning of life based on the goods we have, rather than the person we are.
But when your life is at risk, or health deteriorates, it doesn’t matter how many dresses you have in your wardrobe. When you’re locked down, it doesn’t matter how many cars are waiting for you in your car park. When you are forced to turn inwards, it doesn’t matter how much external material stuff you are surrounded with.
Stripped of the ability to add more unnecessary stuff, you are forced to sit with that what does matter; with that what is essential to you. When you are drawn back on yourself, it becomes clear what does and what doesn’t matter at all. Add the abundance of time, and people started cleaning out the mess in their houses, and in their lives.
The trend of decluttering already started before Corona with the popularity of Marie Kondo. Corona served as a catalyst by taking away the last excuses– time – and preventing people from running away of it – lockdown.
Decluttering a physical space has the co-benefit of decluttering mentally.
Therefore, having life reduced to a few square meter and essential shopping, various people started looking at their core and defining the essentials of their lives.
Moreover, the fact that hair dressers and liquor stores stayed open in some countries, meant there is more than the material essentials alone. Once the physical needs are satisfied, there are psychological needs as well. One can have all material wealth of the world, but if the psychological needs aren’t satisfied, this person might feel the poorest on earth. And vice versa.
The reason behind this logic is the same reason why people declutter their house and feel relieved and satisfied; it is the same reason why people buy a lot of material goods and feel unsatisfied, which cause the need to buy more and more.
With buying those items, they are trying to fill an emptiness with the wrong filling.
As a result, they can never feel satisfied for the long-term, and have to keep on buying those items to feel temporary satisfaction. The same applies to drugs and alcohol, to self-damaging behaviour, or extreme behaviour for the kick or the sake of it.
It would be like filling a hole in the wall with sand instead of cement. It will fill the hole temporary, but never completely, it will still leave space for the cold or the heath to come through. Moreover, life will pass by, and wind and water will flush away the sand over time; forcing you to fill it over and over again.
Trying to fill an internal emptiness with external stuff doesn’t work.
The means doesn’t serve the goal. They might feel good for a while, but will never last for ever. Not only adding more waste on the already unsustainable waste pile of the world, but as well costing you time, energy, and money. Still leaving you unsatisfied.
One Rule of Life
The secret to really feeling satisfied, no matter how much material items you are surrounded with, no matter how much wealth you have gathered, no matter how poor you are; it all comes to one wisdom, one rule of thumb, one rule of life.
It is about making sense of your life, making sense of what you have and not have, of what you do and not do. Therefore, they call it ‘fulfilling’.
If something makes sense to you, if your life makes sense to you, it does fil you genuinely. If your work makes sense to you, it is fulfilling. If you are content with, accepting and loving towards yourself, you will feel fulfilled. It the steps you take, the life you live, the money you make, makes sense to you, they are fulfilling.
If you wake up in the morning and life makes sense to you, it doesn’t matter what crisis you are facing, it doesn’t matter what stuff you are surrounded with. If you wake up in the morning and can tell ‘why you wake up’, it doesn’t matter how sour you are, how dark the times are.
If you can find the meaning of your life, the reason behind your being, and your actions, you can determine what makes sense to you and what doesn’t, what matters do you, and what doesn’t.
If you can answer this question, you have found what is essential to you; you have found your inner compass that will guide you through every crisis that comes your way; you have found your inner torch that will enlighten every darkness. You will finally feel satisfied, no matter where you are on the road, no matter what you are doing or having, because it all makes sense to you.
You will feel fulfilled without having to consume.
If you go in the world with that mindset, you will figure out what is essential, and that you don’t need to consume to feel fulfilled. This wil be sustainable, for you and for the planet.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breath taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
- the remarkable rewards of health
- The queeste for global health care
- Health Heroes
- Pains and Gains
- Solidarity 3.0
- Work-Life Balance
- Home sweet home
- Real Connections
- Leadership 3.0
- gratitude 3.0
- Respect 3.0
- Humanity 3.0
- Change Management
- Economic Catharsis
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark time.