The weather is cooling and that can only mean one thing: summer is ending and the holidays are just around the corner. Which means that materialism theory will be out in full force.
Around the world, many holidays are celebrated with the giving and receiving of stuff. We seem to believe that this stuff will make us happy.
But it won’t.
Investing in the materialistic pursuits of this consumerism economy will only decimate your happiness.
Life is about Relationships, not Acquiring Possessions
When stuff controls your life, you lose what it means to be human. Throughout history, humans have been social survivalists. We thrive in community-based societies.
Thanks to technological advancements, the survival fight has become easier. That social aspect of our being is still there. We thrive on connection. Even the most solitary, introverted person needs connections with others to thrive.
When stuff controls us, the deep connections in our lives matter less and the status the items bring matters more.
Materialism Theory Leads to the Belief that Happiness is Just Around the Corner
Living on the hope of tomorrow robs you of experiencing the beauty of today.
When you buy into the belief that happiness is a bigger house or a nicer car or another book. You lose the management of your own life.
Scientific studies have shown that materialistic people have a higher let down after spending. And, that having more money doesn’t make spending more enjoyable.
Letting go of Stuff Liberates Your Life
Psychologically, we don’t need any stuff. We only need the things that keep us alive and protect us. That is, shelter, food, clothing, and companionship.
At the end of the day, we don’t want the stuff that we buy. We want the emotions, thoughts, clout, and feelings that come from the items. That is, the reputation the item gives us matters more than the item itself.
If you lost your belongings in a fire or another natural disaster, how long would you truly mourn for them? What items would you replace right away? Why?
Remember, you can never get enough of what you don’t want. Be willing to let go of anything that comes into your life and doesn’t move it forward or improve it.
Tangible Rewards or Materialism Theory Undermine Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is doing something for the enjoyment of doing it. Comparatively, extrinsic motivation is doing things because of an external reward or fear of punishment.
The association between possessions and success is a hallmark of materialism theory. This association arises from a childhood of people extrinsically motivating us.
The use of physical rewards as motivation tends to undermine our intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is important because it helps you achieve results, be resilient, and experience less burnout.
Distraction is a Coping Mechanism for Overwhelm
Stuff steals our attention and spoils relationships with its interruptions. When we continually deal with overwhelm by only distracting ourselves, we lose healthy coping mechanisms.
As someone who deals with a hell of a lot of overwhelm, I can say that distraction is an amazing coping mechanism. Coping mechanisms are just that: mechanisms for coping. They only help you to cope with the situation in the moment. At some point, you have to get up and deal with the issues.
If you only deal with symptoms instead of getting to the problem’s root, your issues only go deeper.
Superfluous Space Creates a Vacuum that We Desire to Fill
The world is becoming bigger and smaller at the same time. Technology simultaneously brings us closer together and farther apart.
It seems as though we’re striving for bigger and better things. But what do those things give us? A bigger house means we have to fill it with more things. A bigger table requires storage for more place settings. A bigger car requires more expensive upkeep.
The irony of modern life is that when we no longer have enough space for our stuff. We buy more space instead of deciding if we should get rid of the items.
Superfluous space can be empty. Empty space is a beautiful thing. We seem to have gotten it in our minds that bare space needs to be filled with stuff.
Sometimes less is more.
Materialism Theory is Turning the Storage Into a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry.
People have built fortunes on the fact that others have more stuff than space to store it.
This phenomenon creates a problem because when something is ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’ When you’re not seeing stuff you forget you own it.
Think about the stuff in your home. Can you name every item you own? If you can’t name it, is it important?
Life is More than Working to Earn Money to Pay Bills
Our society has bought into the lie that the solution to our unhappiness lies in the acquisition of more.
Once you pass a certain pay grade (studies show this to be around $75,000 a year.) The amount of money you have doesn’t affect your happiness. Security can be bought but happiness can only be created.
Materialism Theory has Made our Society Forget the Difference Between Wants and Needs.
Needs are things that your physical and mental health requires – food, shelter, safety, and community.
Wants are everything else.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting things and acquiring those wants. But when you believe satisfaction comes from the acquisition of things, you place your happiness in the hands of an inanimate object.
Is the ‘American Dream’ Your Dream?
The current American dream is based on the status quo of materialism theory. Is this what you desire for your existence?
America was founded on the idea that people have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We declared our independence from England on the belief that it is a human right to pursue happiness.
When you allow other people’s dreams and ideas lead your life, you end up in the passenger seat of your existence.
Happiness is a Bit Overrated
This can be a controversial statement, but I believe it to the core of my being. I believe that the constant pursuit of an almost unattainable goal will lead to an unsatisfactory life.
Happiness is unattainable because it is steeped in the idea that you need to always be happy. That’s just not true. Humanity has the gift of a multitude of emotions and they all deserve to be felt.
In the words of The Minimalists, “Love people and use things because the opposite never works.”
Much Love, Heather