I recently came across a very intricate method of figuring out whether you should buy something that catches your eye. There’s a formula and some calculations, and…oh wait, no, not intricate. It’s not difficult or time-consuming and takes only seconds. It’s something I’ve always been aware of, but never acted on. No, not intricate.
It’s a feeling, or rather, the answer to a feeling. When you are thinking about a purchase, ask yourself: does this make me feel lighter, or heavier?
Such a simple question. The answer for me has almost always been heavier. Heavy with guilt. With remorse. With omitted truth (OK, lies). I remember one instance in particular that made me feel very, very heavy. I’d been searching for over a year for the “perfect” mother’s ring with the birthstones of my children. I found out that my older son’s birthstone is so rare and expensive that I’d only be able to get a synthetic version. A nearby jeweler stocks the synthetic version, so I went to check it out… and found the ring I’d been searching for. It was white gold, had two stones, and was my size. Most magically of all, it looked great stacked with my wedding rings! It really seemed meant to be. Except that it was a few hundred more than I’d planned to spend.
I bought it anyway.
And I felt sick. Heavy. Guilty. Yucky. I forget why, but I ended up talking to my husband just after I paid for it. He was aghast at what I had done. I was spending the remaining of my personal savings on this ring, so we weren’t going into debt or anything like that. It was exactly what I wanted and the search was over. It was perfect. But I felt terrible. I realized that the problem was that I hadn’t talked to my husband before making such a large purchase. It was deceit. I didn’t want to be told “no” and I was ashamed. Some good came of it: I knew I could never do that again. I would never.
It’s been a year, and I love the ring and it really is perfect. But I still remember that heavy feeling whenever I look at it. And I remember that it was a critical turning point.
When I came across the “lighter or heavier” method a couple of weeks ago, I thought about my ring. I thought about several of my shopping trips. I was instantly aware that I’ve felt heavier or lighter with most of my purchases. I decided to consciously adopt this method, because I know it will make me leave things on the rack, on the shelf, or untouched in the display case.