Shania Twain said it best in her song, “That Don’t Impress me Much”. We live in a “me” society where everyone seems to be looking out for number one and then blaming the banks for getting them in debt over their heads. Years back, people were buying houses they knew they couldn’t afford, but wanted to believe that after the 5 year, low-interest rate, they would come up with a plan to counteract the balloon effect. There was an increase of over-sized SUV’s so they could pack their kids, their kid’s friends and all their Costco purchases in them, yet they couldn’t afford to fill them with the premium gas they required. People bought to impress others with expensive handbags, the latest cell phone, the latest TV technology (in the largest possible screen size), 500+ digital channels so they could watch on their new TV,(even though most people only watch about 20 or less of those channels), they overspent and when it caught up to them, they blamed everyone but themselves. This society (tries) to teach us to want more. We need more. New is better. More is better. Better is better. Buy this to impress your friends and family. Be the first to own this new item so you can feel more special than everyone else who had to wait.
I’ve stopped trying to impress other people. I think of people in two categories: one for people whose opinions I care about and the other for those I do not. When looking at people whose opinions don’t matter to me, it makes it easy for me not to worry about impressing them. It doesn’t matter what they think of me because their opinions will not affect me. As long as I am not doing anything offensive or negative or causing them any harm, then what I do or have doesn’t matter. (I;m sure they don’t care about my opinion either).
As for those people I would want to impress such as: neighbors, customers, in-laws, friends and family etc., they will be more impressed by the relationship I have built with them, my character, my honor and my word, than by any shiny new thing I could possibly own. I believe that these people will like me for me, not for the objects I possess, and if not, well then they’ll be moved to the “other” list.
Coming to this realization was the best money-saving moment of my life and also helped me see all the fake people out in the world. I got caught up in trying to impress people who in the long run didn’t matter. The key is to buy things that you want, not what your friends want, or what society is telling you to buy because it is “cool”. I have learned one can never win in the never-ending battle of who has the best “stuff”. I now buy what I can pay cash for(aka truly afford), even large purchases. I have a very nice car but I worked for that car. I did not buy it for the random person I will drive next to in traffic so that they can be envious and impressed with my car. I didn’t buy it so that other mom’s would be jealous of me, or to pretend to be someone I am not. I bought it for me. I saved the money and bought the car. I like nice things, but I also appreciate the simple things and am willing to work for those items I really truly want. I have learned that no material item brings true happiness because no matter the object, if you’re not happy with yourself, than the item will never fill that void.
It seems to me that most spending is on trying to impress other people with our new, shiny thing. Many people go to specific restaurants, buy designer clothes and handbags, vacation to specific destinations and talk money with everyone. It’s as if they’re reading their resumes to you instead of letting you know who they are as a person. It bothers me when I see someone trying to impress me with their snobbery. I don’t care how much your parents are worth, I care about what yourworth is as a person. I don’t care how much your bag costs, how much your husband makes, how nice your car is, how expensive your material objects are because they do not give me any insight to your character. The superficial is just that, superficial. You will never be on top, can never be on top, because that peak is one that is ever rising. Do what makes you happy, not what you think may impress other people. As part of the group of “people”, I have to say that I don’t care what you have I care who you are on the inside. And if you are using these material objects to try to impress me than I just feel sorry for you and wonder what it is that you’re really hiding beneath your facade.
We all have to start planning for tomorrow. I could easily shell out all my monthly income to impress those that are insignificant or I can live within my means, even below my means at times, and save for my family’s future. I can save for the unexpected. I can save for a vacation and not worry about credit card debt. I can pay off my educational costs. I can breathe at night. I cannot worry as much about the financial “what ifs”. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we are only hurting ourselves in the long run. Stop buying things to impress other people. You can buy nice things, but buy them because you want them. Work for those large purchases so you can truly enjoy them instead of being indebted to them. You have to really get to know yourself and see what purchases are truly 100% for you and not to impress other people. Think of the items you have bought or want to buy and imagine using them in secret and no one else is allowed to know that you own them. Now think if those items are still things that you would want to purchase. If the answer is “no” then they are items made to impress; if the answer is “yes” then work for those items and do it for you. Be honest with your friends and family about dinners and activities that involve money and tell them what limits you feel comfortable with and what limits make you feel as if you’re trying to impress people, which you don’t care to do in the first place. Let them know that nothing they could ever buy could possibly impress you more than them simply being themselves.
Judging ourselves against those that have more than us will only make us unhappy and in some cases, lead to more spending. If you find yourself feeling jealous of someone else, ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Do you think you deserve to have those same nice things? Have you put in the effort to get those nice things? Do you even really want that thing, or do you want it so you can be part of the “in” crowd? Or maybe it’s as simple as thinking you might be happier if you had nicer things like that person. If that last thought ever crosses your mind, I can assure you that any material object will never bring everlasting happiness. It will bring superficial happiness and will die as soon as you see something else that you “just gotta have” comes along or a new shiny object. It is easier to “hate” on other people instead of asking yourself what it wrong with you that you can’t be happy for that person or why you can’t find happiness without material things. Stop living your life for the people who you’ve created this facade for, and start living your life for the person you see in the mirror. What would impress that person?
Things that impress me in people (to name a few):
- Respectful of other people including themselves.
- A good work ethic.
- Being a man/woman of your word, because that is literally priceless. If all forms of money lost their value tomorrow, the “word” would be king, and there would be few people whose “word” I would except as payment
- Be honest to who you are, let your true self come through.
- Be humble and modest.
- Do not put other people down, even if given the opportunity to do so.
Don’t let your self worth be equivalent to the material possessions you own. Just be you. Just be. Now that’s impressive!