Are we living in a Replaceable Society?

This article was written by Kristen Rafajko and Originally Published on 

With the announcement of the new Ipad3 this week and the recent arrival of “Siri” aka the Iphone 4s; it got me thinking about how our society and culture is becoming more and more of a replaceable society. Gone are the days that something became outdated, and we would update it, reuse it for something else or in most circumstances keep using it until it runs and breaks down and have to get a new one. Today, we are accustomed to replacing our gizmo’s, electronics, toys, and even our relationships and bodies before the expiration date draws near.

When Apple came out with the newest successor to the Iphone 4, People dropped their Iphones for “Siri” faster than Snooki got pregnant or Kim Kardashian filed for divorce; but why did we all rush out to get the newest, greatest thing? The Iphone 4 was great by itself and worked just fine for what you needed it to do. The 4s is not much different from the Iphone 4, except for the addition of “Siri”, which I admit is pretty cool and fun to play with, but definitely not necessary. But what are we teaching our future generations with these encoded messages of replacing something or someone when it’s not necessary?

With the messages our society is sending by dropping the old and bringing in the newer and better, I think we are sending the wrong message that everything and everyone is replaceable. As a single mom, this is one thing I have contemplated a lot over the last year; Now that my ex-husband is in a new committed relationship, I wonder if the message that their family can be “replaced” is something that my kids subconsciously perceive or recognize. I know me or the family is not being replaced in any way, but do my kids and our future generations understand that? It seems like every time something of my kids breaks or gets lost, they already think they can just get a new one; or if a commercial for the “New” Power Ranger (that literally just has metallic added to it) comes on, they immediately tell me that they must have it. “It’s so much better than the one I have! Please mom can I get it?!”.

But, At what point is it that we are replacing something or someone or that we are simply just moving on from the old?

As I pondered this and the way we think about replacements, I came up with what I believe are the main truths and lessons about what it truly means to replace and be replaced:

1. We Physically are Replaceable but Who We are is Not

Just like snowflakes, and fingerprints, no two people are alike. We may be similar in personality, mannerisms, and looks, but everyone has their own perception of reality that shapes their thoughts, situations, and the way they react to things. With this in mind, we impact every person we meet and interact with in some way to shape others lives; whether it is as significant as having a relationship or friendship with someone, or merely passing someone on the street. We all have undeniable truth to who we are and what we do with our lives, and no one can take that away from you, which makes you as a person irreplaceable.

2. There is always going to be Something or Someone better.

Technology, Life, and Relationships are all infinitely evolving. There will always be newer, upgraded, and cooler models that will come out. They will all make you think that they will solve your problems, make your life easier, and give you more peace of mind; but they wont unless you have made things easier for yourself first. No matter how many technological advances, or “hotter” more successful people come into your life, nothing can change the way you think, act, or do things unless you chose to. One of my favorite quotes sums this up perfectly:

“There will always be someone who is thinner, prettier, more successful, and just better than you. But if you let it get to you, you will never be the better person.”

3. In the workplace, We are Replaceable

In the workplace nothing is, or should be, personal. Just like the point above, that there will always be someone better, there is going to be someone who is better at your job too. But, if you take on the mindset to do what is best for your company and devote yourself as being a team player, whether you work alone, compete against others, or work in a department with others, you will add far more value to yourself if you think and act like you are part of a team, rather than someone who just focuses on the tasks at hand and is good at their job. With more value for your company, you become harder to replace.

With these points in mind, I urge you to commit to not letting yourself and your things be replaceable. Vow to not replace your things, relationships, and yourself until you absolutely have to. Commit to teach and show ourselves and future generations that we as a society can’t be replaced. Stop letting go of the not that great, for the newer and cooler, and use what you have till it’s time runs out.

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