Vivienne taught me years ago that it is essential to only buy things you really love – for which you experience that elusive “coup de coeur”. This is a phrase I particularly love, because while it is generally understood to mean love at first sight, it has a more… physical? feeling about it. After all, a coup de pied means a kick, and a coup d’etat means overthrowing the government, so to me, a coup de coeur is like a kick in the heart, or your heart being overturned. What we’re looking for here is a really deeply felt, visceral reaction.
And this is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. I’ve always been very influenced by other people’s opinions about the right things to own and wear, and so I’ve frequently found myself thinking that I really loved something, when it was more a “well, I’m supposed to love this, so I think I do”. Big mistake. Costs money, costs time, keeps you from having the things that would really make you happy.
So what wisdom can Vivienne and I share with you about having a firm grasp on your inner coup de coeur?
- Look at things your dreamed about purchasing, and then found disappointing. What went wrong? Try to learn from these errors.
- Conversely, look at things which you weren’t really certain about buying which turned out to be absolutely perfectly brilliant for you. What was going on there?
- Don’t rush into purchases. I’ve started to trick myself – if I see something that I’m thoroughly convinced is perfect for me, I force myself to wait one week to buy it. More and more, I find that I don’t even remember what that fabulous item WAS after seven days. That’s a depressing but educational experience.
- When you have something in your life that’s not ideal for you, do your level best to get rid of it as soon as reasonably possible. (I’m not saying that you should recycle the majority of your possessions, but there are somethings that you know you’d be happier without).
- When you get around to replacing the item you eliminated in step 4, think long and hard about WHY that thing wasn’t right for you, and what you now prefer in its place. You may find that you don’t need to replace anything; you could be better off with nothing for a while, until your preferences have settled down and you can clearly feel the cry in your heart for the perfect thing.
How does this work out for others? Do you share my bad habit of making foolish purchases?