Overcoming materialism leads to a happier, more satisfying life
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More stories from Sam Noonan
April 17, 2017
Our society often enforces the idea that the wealthier you are, and the more material possessions you have, the happier you will be. This can convince the average American to buy items that they don’t really want, bringing a false sense of happiness that can’t last forever. It’s easy to become reliant on constant purchases to keep yourself satisfied, but if you spend more and more, one can do the exact opposite.
I’m most definitely no exception to this. I’m often just as materialistic as the next person, and I do find myself thinking about how much better off I would be if I had this or that, or something else that would provide temporary happiness. However, these items can’t offer up the same satisfaction for long. Buying the new iPhone or a bigger house can’t automatically make you a happier person, even if it seems like it will solve all of your problems. It can’t serve the same role as doing activities or participating in hobbies that you really enjoy, and it never will.
Doing what you really enjoy and living the life that you want to live is the easiest way to truly be happy and content with your life, and there are no other shortcuts to this. Life is meant to be lived through your experiences and through the discovery of oneself, and merely buying more and more luxuries can’t fix this. Consumer culture dictates that the solution to being happier with your life is buying more and more, but this isn’t the true answer. There’s much more to living a good life than buying a big house, or a fast car, or paying for luxuries that make you feel good for a short time.
However, these experiences do vary greatly from person-to-person. Those who may be struggling more with money can obviously gain a sense of greater well-being and feel better because of new purchases. Instead, the problem lies in substituting the real things in life that make you happy with new, flashy material possessions. You can’t throw money at a problem and expect it to fix itself. Being truly happy is about valuing your relationships, life, and what is around you.
As I work on finding my happiness through my experiences in life, I’ve realized that valuing the life I live lets me gain a greater appreciation for the little things. From talking and spending time with friends and family, to enjoying my hobbies, trying to be less materialistic has made me more conscious of how I don’t need material possessions to stay happy. I love getting new things and buying items that I want just as much as anyone else, but I’ve realized it’s not necessary for living a life that I’m content with.