We live in a culture of unreasonable expectations.
Nearly every day, television, magazines, websites, and billboards offer us countless images of the “perfect” home.
Beaming faces, sparkling eyes, pristine decor, and bountiful tables of food are shown on media platforms of every sort. Many of these images stand side by side with corporate logos and retail stores.
It would seem, from the image on the screen, these items are essential for a perfect home. Because, obviously, the smiles are bigger, the family is happier, and the lights shine brighter—if, and only if, we buy the consumer product to make it so.
This is not a new strategy from marketers. Our entire lives, they have communicated subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages that our lives will be better, happier, and more fulfilled if we buy whatever they’re selling.
It seems our entire economy is built on making people feel dissatisfied with what they have. And nobody is immune to the meticulously crafted persuasion.
I assume one reason for the effectiveness of these ad campaigns is because we all desire a joyful home filled with love, warmth, and comfort. We cherish our time with family and want it to be picture perfect. We love our kids and want them to be happy. And we all enjoy times of celebration and desire them to be memorable.
But let’s remember one important truth today: You don’t need any of those things in the ads for a perfect home.
You don’t need new furniture or updated countertops. You don’t need the stainless steel appliances (or whatever is most trendy this decade). You don’t need the largest-screen television. You don’t need all the perfect decoration. You don’t need expensive food or drink. And you certainly don’t need a Lexus in the driveway with a red ribbon wrapped around it.
Home is about family, thankfulness, acceptance, love, and strength. It’s about reflecting on the life that was and looking forward to the life that can be in the future. It’s about counting blessings. And it’s about slowing down from life long enough to appreciate and enjoy the people who matter most.
Too often, the consumeristic promises and fake photos keep us from all that.
Instead of slowing down, we speed up. We rush from store to store (or website to website), filling our homes with all the things we think we need to make it just perfect.
We fill our schedules with increased commitments and responsibilities. We max out our credit cards. We get so frustrated and weary chasing the perfect home that we never take time to enjoy the one right in front of us.
But once we slow down enough to notice our blessings, we begin to see that we already have everything we need for a perfect home. We just need to appreciate it more.