In today’s age and time, happiness depends a lot on the ‘idea of purchasing new things frequently.’ Most people have a strong desire to wear branded clothes and beautiful jewelry, drive luxury cars and go on exotic vacations – all under the pretext of “I want it all.” This attitude seems to be the key to happiness these days. But the truth is people who are privileged enough to wear, drive and dine whatever and wherever, are not necessarily happy.
Thinking about acquiring everything new and shiny does make the person momentarily happy. It acts as a pretty effective booster. But the more a person buys, the more he or she craves for more and the inability to acquire something results in the frequent downfall of moods. Hence why do something that makes you happy for only a short period? Why not do something more definitive and result-oriented in life? Admittedly, going on a shopping spree isn’t one of them!
It’s easy to say that material possessions have the power to cheer up a person and that they offer a sense of happiness to the soul. It is true, but this feeling lasts for only a short while. If the person still believes that materialism is a strong predictor of happiness, then he or she must take note of the following:
Materialism acts as a distraction from what’s important
With the constant need to pursuit ‘things’ comes the need to focus only on that. If a person is out chasing the materialistic pleasures of the world, how will he or she get the time to experience the beauteous, most natural wonders of life? Spending quality time with family members & friends, doing productive work professionally, playing a sport, learning how to bake a cake, going on a long drive are few examples that certainly make a person’s more significant than it already is or will ever be!
The need for instant gratification that materialism offers is often more tempting. The reason behind this is that being successful at doing something meaningful (such as doing social work or just simply following a set routine at work) requires patience, that also in abundance! Another way to put it, perhaps a direct one, is to say that achieving an evocative goal ensures happier results than buying a bunch of stuff that will eventually leave a feeling of emptiness inside of the person.
High level of wealth doesn’t guarantee a successful relationship
A wealthy person can have all the riches in the world – the biggest house, the latest gadget, the newest model of a branded four-wheeler, premium clothing, etc. etc. But when the person’s snobbish attitude (arising out a ‘wealthy’ bank statement) starts to rub off others in the wrong way, everything else becomes secondary! There’s no denying that it is important to have sufficient monetary resources to not only live a comfortable life but also to keep the spouse/partner content financially. At the same time, it is also important to appreciate ‘companionship. Ironically, materialism is one of those concepts that one doesn’t want to ponder upon, even if it is causing immense tension and stress in the lovers’ paradise. And, this leaves hardly any time to spend with the significant other. If the person can draw a clear line between being materialistic and being a supportive & loving partner, then there’s nothing like it. But if this is not possible, then things will go kaput for the couple. If only money could buy love?
Happiness is the result of mindfulness
Studies have shown that materialistic people have less empathetic qualities and are also less-social towards other beings around them. Similarly, people who rely amply on the glorification of real consumption tend to develop narcissistic & depressive behaviors and personalities – both being negative attributes associated with the field of Psychology.
Thus if the person is not happy on the inside, then he or she can never be pleased with a horde of materialistic things. So yes, happiness is just a vain promise of fulfillment. Through cultivated meditation and reflective practice, one can elevate his or her self-worth in the society without relying on petty assets of the world. The person would eventually come to find a balance between the satisfaction that materialism offers and the simple pleasures that life brings forth!
Remember: experience matters, objects don’t.
Whether it is going backpacking to the hills or dining at a fancy restaurant – the whole shebang needs to be experienced in a balanced fashion. Everyone has a bit of a materialistic side, but it shouldn’t be the crucial factor of anyone’s life ever. Materialism can’t and shouldn’t be the only thing defining a person’s life. Even though having material possessions can improve the quality of life, it doesn’t guarantee anything that goes beyond the outside.