Materialism Won’t Make You Happy

By | January 6, 2019

“Buy this and you’ll be happy!” screams consumerism.

“Give this gift, and the recipient will experience nirvana!” screams the marketers.

“Give your children these toys and they will be the brightest, smartest, fastest, most advanced in their age groups!” screams the intention behind the ads.

“Drive this car, and you will have the woman of your dreams, the career of your lifetime, and all the wealth you can imagine!” screams the car ads.

“Seek the American dream, fill up that 2000 sq ft house with stuff, then put your extra stuff into this beautified storage unit, the first month is only $ 1!” screams the storage business!

Does all of this feel familiar? Is any of it true for you? I’m a Taurus and I love stuff. I collect shoes and leather bags, watches, wallets, journals and hats, yet, none of it brings me happiness. In fact, just the opposite. Every few months, I begin to feel too stifled and closed in by our stuff as a family of 3 in suburbia, so we do a purge and get rid of more, off to donate or sell second-hand. All of our material shit holds us down from mental clarity, freedom, wealth and in some cases, proper health.

I used to spend hours walking around the mall when I felt bored, lonely, disconnected and sad. I’d grab an iced coffee and walk through my favorite stores, buying things I didn’t need, to fill feelings that cannot be filled by material possessions. What I was seeking was connection, friendship, engagement, emotional development and stamina, social activities, physical activities, and the satisfaction that activities such as developing hobbies can bring.

As the Internet developed further into a vast e-commerce platform, I learned about Etsy and buying online from small businesses and makers, my transition morphed from walking the mall to browsing the endless black hole of the Internet, discovering brands on Kickstarter.com, Kaufmann Mercantile, and other online avenues. My justification broader to external reasons such as “my purchase helps this small maker and small business! It’s, of course, the right thing to do to buy from them!” However, much introspection has given me insight into the incongruence within this methodology of filling our emotional holes with material stuff.

To curb all of this emotional need/materialism filler incompatibility, I explored what I was feeling when the need to walk the mall arose, and it was often one simple feeling: loneliness. What do you feel that drives you to engage in consumerism for unnecessary stuff? How do you disengage from that habit, and turn those feelings into healthy habits?

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