Minimalism | Why Buying Stuff Won't Make You Happy


In this society, we are basically brainwashed that more is better; that we need to continue to constantly consume in order to feel happy and good about ourselves. We've been convinced that buying more and more stuff is the only way to prove our worth to others and ourselves. We are convinced that others will be impressed by how much money we spend. We feel the pressure to "keep up with the Joneses", and we often times look down on those who have less and look up to those who have more. However, the reality is very different of course. No matter how much you buy, you never really seem to be fully satisfied - the hunger still lingers. The joyous high wears off quite fast and you are looking for the next best thing. Businesses are constantly creating a high demand and they come out with new and better products almost right after the previous one was released. Take Apple for example. As soon as the iPhone 6 was released, it wasn't long before the hype for the iPhone 7 took off and everyone was excited to get their hands on the new amazing iPhone, even if they had just purchased the iPhone 6. Those same exact people will probably be anxious for the next one to come out as well. It's a bit of a trap. Let me just say something right now: the constant purchase of physical possessions will never fully satisfy our desire for happiness and there are quite a few reasons for that:

There is always something new coming out. 
No matter how wonderful and expensive the item you have right now is, it will most likely soon become obsolete with a newer, upgraded version. Our world is constantly moving forward and the market is constantly articulating new plans to create a new demand for the next best thing. If you are trying to "keep up," you'll never be happy because you will find yourself in the vicious cycle of endless catching up.

Each purchase adds extra worry to our lives. 
Every item we bring into our lives is one more item that we are responsible for. I know this sounds rather small or irrelevant, but when you add everything up, it really makes a difference. Possession require maintenance. Maybe it's a decoration that you are going to have to dust every time you clean; whatever it is, it will require time, energy and focus. The more you own, the more complication that comes into your life. Instead, live with less. Live simply. 

Materiel things do not satisfy emotional needs. 
Rather than the latest gadget, what we truly desire in life are the experiences of freedom, friendship, love, and peace. Material objects will never and can never give you that. They may temporarily content you, but it's short-lived. Experiences and adventures will fill up your soul. Save your money for that vacation you've been meaning to take. Anyway, the short-lived excitement and joy will begin to fade sooner than you think. A great example: overflowing closets and drawers, and thinking we still need more. Contentment will never be felt with this perspective. 

Time and money wasted.
You work hard for your money, or at least most people do. Do not throw it away for things that will not contribute to your well-being. Time is a precious thing that cannot be given back. Owning more and focusing on acquiring more will not allow you the time to focus on what truly matters. There is this beautiful quote by Atticus I discovered quite awhile back (you might want to write this one down) and it goes, "What a strange world. We trade our days for things." Think really hard about that. Isn't it crazy? We spend long days at work, and slowly the paycheck builds up. Another quote I love is, "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it," by Henry David Thoreau. It's the truth. Our purchases cost us more than we realize. We don't buy things with money, we buy things with hours from our very own lives. 

Of course this is life and life is not perfect, but rather, messy. We have slip-ups once in awhile and we make exceptions once in awhile, and this is fine. And of course, this doesn't apply to every single leisure purchase in our life. Sometimes there really is something you want; something that will truly bring you joy and be worth it. That's OK. Write it down in "want list," and wait a few months. Give yourself some time to save up for it and ensure that is not an impulsive want. Just continue to be critical of what you spend your money on. Is it worth it? Can it wait? Would you rather spend your money on an experience, rather than a possession? 

No comments

Back to Top