April 26, 2016

I don't want what you're selling.

I don't want what you're selling. Why does this sound so harsh?

For me, it brings to mind the image of a 1950s housewife standing at her door while a pushy salesman waits on the porch with a briefcase or some type of case filled with samples.

I'll never forget the time the Kirby vacuum salesman came to our house and my mom said she was definitely not going to buy the vacuum cleaner. She was only going to let him do the free carpet cleaning, and then she would say no to his sales pitch.

$1,200 and 10 easy payments later we had a brand new, fully automated, self-propelled Kirby vacuum cleaner. It was actually pretty awesome and lasted many years, but that's another story.

The thing that got me thinking was the idea that we don't feel comfortable to say "I don't want what you're selling."

Surely I'm not the only one who feels equal amounts of annoyance and guilt when I make a special effort to avoid eye contact with the salespeople in the mall kiosks? I know it's probably not their life's dream to demonstrate straightening irons, rub cream on the back of wrinkly strangers' hands or fit my cell phone with a new indestructible case.

I'm not interested, but somehow I feel bad about it. Why does it feel like not wanting what they are selling somehow makes me wrong?

Have you ever encountered people who you just don't mesh with? It's not that you don't like them, or that they aren't perfectly nice. But something about the way they approach the world is completely and utterly different from your own approach. It's like they are selling something that you don't want to buy. Something you have no interest in, no need for, no desire to partake.

Maybe for these people, life seems so perfect....because they happened to capture it just right in a photo shared on social media. Or sometimes these are the ones who make themselves feel a foot taller, because they can cut somebody else down with just the right quip or comment. Or (to put in Tennessee terms) maybe they've simply gotten too big for their britches. 

I'm sure we all know people like this. I like to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, so I don't think they are evil or bad. These people are probably just as lost as the rest of us, trying to figure life out, and messing up all along the way. But somewhere on the journey, they adopted a mentality of 'the rules don't apply to me.' And maybe that's where it turns me off.

But the beauty of it all is this....we don't have to buy anything we don't want. If someone's selling something that doesn't work for you, don't buy it. Do you ever struggle with feeling like you aren't allowed to say no? There are a million reasons that cause this.

I can't say no because I need the money. I can't say no because it makes me look like a jerk. I can't say no because they'll hate me. I'll seem rude. I'll seem selfish. Nobody will like me. I'll be embarrassed. I'll look foolish. If I say no, and I'm the only one who says no, I'll be an outsider. I'll seem like a nerd. Like a snob. Like a fussy pants. Like a needy person. If I say no, I won't get asked to go along ever again. If I say no, I might have to sit at home and be sad. 

You don't have to go along. You're allowed to say "I don't want what you're selling," whether it's a product or service, or a belief system or a way of life.

We don't have to buy into beliefs we don't embrace. And we don't have to buy into the idea that we have to become a different person to make others like us, or think we're worthy of their time.

If chaos and drama and ridicule is someone's way of life, and that's what they're selling, it doesn't appeal to me. What's wrong with that?

I know life presents certain circumstances that we have to 'put up with.' Sometimes they last for a short time, or a longer season. But forcing ourselves to buy into things we don't believe for the long-haul is slowing killing us.

When we do this, we tell ourselves that what our heart wants most doesn't matter at all. And this is a form of self-abuse. What your heart wants most does matter. It matters to me and it matters to God.

But we're only given a limited amount of resources in the way of time, energy and attention. Don't spend your precious pennies on things you don't want. No matter what you try to convince yourself you're getting in the bargain. It just isn't worth it. And it never will be.