As much as I appreciate the the Holidays, one has to admit it possess a downside: the relentless, unceasing, non-stop drone of promotions, commercials, and ads; loosely wrapped in pseudo-emotion by manipulative agencies pretending to appear as caring; with a primary objective being no more than inflating their coffers at our expense.
I do not consider all shopkeepers as greedy and soulless. Most are you and I, working their day-to-day, attempting to keep their heads above water. I also take no issue with profitability; we each must pay our bills. I am self-employed and therefore extremely aware of what it’s like to stare at the ceiling all night concerned how to pay my vendors, keep the government satisfied; and still claim some folding money for my family.
But can we be honest? After 132 renditions of the “Night Before Christmas” re-written into unusual off-tone radio commercials, can we unite hand-in-hand and admit that it wears down the psyche?
Deepak Chopra, lecturer and author, stated in December, “We are spending money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.”
Ouch. That kind of hurts; but “why?”
Statements containing some inner truth are the only ones that wound us. As example, should someone tell you “you’re a lousy golfer,” and you’ve never walked a course, nor do you know a divot from a dogleg; you would take no offense, your emotional well-being remaining fully intact. Yet, should your child shout, “you’re a horrible mother;” that might inflict some pain. Although we know she is acting out, if we possess ANY insecurity about the subject — no matter no minute — and someone casts light upon it, we cannot help but flinch. Inner doubts multiply rapidly.
So as we again slog through the silly season of resolutions, it’s time to take inner stock.
One cannot toss a week-old fruitcake three feet without hitting an advertisement proclaiming “flatter abs” or “30 pound weight loss.” Every jolly, chubby, singing elf TV advertisement has been displaced with ads portraying an eye-poppingly gorgeous bikini-clad woman possessing a figure-not-found-in-nature, emerging from a swimming pool (in January, really??). As the water slithers from her tanned lean limbs, she pauses and proclaims, “With my new miracle ab-dissolver, I’ve lost 83 pounds and turned my life around — in the last thirty days. My children now behave. My husband can’t keep his hands off me — and we even won the lottery.” Standing by her side is masculine tanned, eye candy with a sculpted jaw, and a stomach so taunt one could cut diamonds on it. He beams lovingly at his wife, eyes twinkling, and in unison, staring directly into the lens, they ask, “What are YOU waiting for?”
Intuitively, logically, we know it’s a set up. But it appeals to our inner sense of “wrongness” because we already feel bad about ourselves. In that emotional Achilles’ heel, deliverance is at hand, in the form of an 800 number. Redemption lies in the phone operators who are standing by for the next 22 minutes; for only with their assistance (and $24.95 in shipping and handling) can we convert our ugly duckling-ness to swans. Due to this primal knee-jerk reaction to be “fixed,” there are millions of treadmills serving as no more than expensive coat hangers.
This column is not a thesis for stasis, rather a call to rational long-term thinking. Change or die is reality. However, change approached from a place of inner strength yield vastly improved, longer-lasting results. It’s okay to be proud of who you are — while still on the road to getting better.