Day 228: What is Our Responsibility as Consumers?

So, in continuing from the last post, Day 227: Bunions and Self Education, I'm going to now look at in more detail how this relationship to our footwear came to be and namely, what is our responsibility in it, if any? Lately we have a tendency to blame corporations and businesses for the products that exist, but it's not like any product could just be 'foisted' upon us, whether we like it or not. It has to be something we will buy so that the businesses can make a profit because that's how they work.

Even considering all the money and research and effort that goes into marketing schemes and advertising to 'convince' us to buy certain things, in the end who makes the choice to buy it? Who decides to believe in what we see in the marketing without actually investigating it?

We're actually living in a pretty cool time what with the Internet taking communication to another level, where we can give direct feedback to companies about what we would like and what we don't like. The key would be to take an active role in that, and that would actually require a lot of self education, just as for example with myself all my life wearing improper shoes and never realizing what I was doing to myself, until I finally got an understanding of what is actually going on – how the feet actually work and in conjunction with the whole body and how our footwear affects our feet and thus our body and thus our entire life and well-being, and what proper footwear might rather be like.

Now I want to also discuss my own process in terms of how I even got to the point of educating myself on this topic, or even any topic, because this was not something I would normally do in the past, some years ago. Part of that is due to the Internet not being what it is today with information so available. Never has self education been this facilitated and really in the power of your own hands. But just because we have this tool available to us, doesn't mean we are using it to its utmost potential.

When we have the typical ideas and beliefs about what it is we like/don't like to do that are impulsed into us from early on in our lives, spending our free time doing research doesn't really fit into those preconceived notions. It typically has more to do with 'relaxing' like vegging-out to the TV, or maybe seeking a party to get intoxicated and have a 'good time' or being consumed with the hunt for a mate or some such encounter, all the general things that we're shown is what we apparently want to do, and all of which largely goes nowhere and amounts to nothing of any real substance or positive impact in one's life, but rather actually tends to cause negative consequences and generally waste one's time here. Now, I'm not saying to not be social or have relationships or anything like that, that is cool, but obviously there is a balance where your social activities should be positive in nature and not degenerative.

So, it's after quite a process of going through such types of distractions myself throughout my life and learning the consequence the hard way – many years wasted and not much to show for it – that I now see and understand the value in applying myself in practical things that actually have a positive benefit in my life/world, like educating myself on this world and what is here. I mean, obviously this is sorely needed, considering all the myriad problems we face from the global to the personal level, we require to finally get down to educating ourself to how this world really works and what is really effective living.

So I wanted to share the process that has now taken me to this point where I see the validity in taking the time to educate myself, for anyone who might come across this and still be at the point of not seeing this or some similar topic as being something that fits within one's 'prescribed interests' so that one might begin to consider that it is possible to broaden one's perspective and interest for one's own actual benefit.

Not only was it a process to get to see the value of self education, but also to sort out my value system overall, in terms of what I use, what I wear, what I do, what I buy, and looking at, is it benefitting me or not? Because if I was still attached to the ideas that I was in the past where for example what I would choose to wear was more based on fashion/style/look/imagination than actual practicality or whether an item was properly designed to physically support my body, then I wouldn't even be open to wearing properly fitting shoes, because they didn't fit in with 'what I liked'. For example, I can remember seeing here and there some shoes that had a wider toe and thinking that they looked terrible ad I wouldn't be caught dead wearing something like that. So that shows how our value system can be so backward where I was actually valuing things that are harmful to me, like seeing high-heeled pointy-toed shoes as really cool for example, and rejecting the more properly designed shoe that would have been supportive!

In essence, this is how we abuse ourselves and our bodies for fashion, for an image, an idea, that has grave consequences for our lives and livelihood. We have some reason, excuse, justification in our mind as to why we simply aren't/won't just do what is best for our body. We lie to ourselves that we're not really doing any harm, and it can seem that way because effects are accumulative and take time to show and progress so gradually.

So within this, you can see how it's actually our responsibility as individuals to sort out our own value systems. To question that which is presented to us as a 'positive' thing to see whether it really is so in reality. The products that are available to us are the result of our own value systems and what we accept and allow. If we want to see a change we have to become that change and find the solutions ourselves, because it is not going to be done for us.

This is where the process of self-forgiveness has come in very handy, to sort out my value system to see where I am placing my value in that which is harmful and correcting that to instead valuing what is actually supportive, and I'll continue more on that n the next post.