For some people, material possessions are things that make us happy. Others will argue that material things don’t lead to genuine happiness. So what is the truth behind material possessions and what role do they play in our lives?
It’s not as simple as it seems. Therefore, there is a need to distinguish between material things that cost us money and have no real or long-term value and things that cost us money but are fulfilling and rewarding in the long run.
Let’s find out the truth about material possessions and whether they can make you content with your life or not.
What are Material Possessions?
Anything that you possess becomes your property and it is known as a “material” possession. It is something you can touch and keep safe for as long as you want. If a person is too attached to his material possessions, he is said to be “materialistic”.
These people consider things to be more important than people and relationships. They spend most of their time acquiring those things and as a result, experience failed relationships, deteriorating health and sometimes depression and even hopelessness.
It has been observed that material possessions bring happiness, which is very short-lived. This is also known as “instant gratification”, which soon fades away and once it does, you no longer feel attached to those things; in fact, at times you start feeling depressed and gloomy.
There can be many types of possessions from things that serve to change our lifestyle to things that boost our confidence and make us more self-assured.
We can change our lifestyle without spending a lot of money and boost our confidence by having a rewarding career instead of going for expensive treatments and cosmetic procedures.
If you do have money to spend, you could spend it on traveling, or doing something you really enjoy like scuba diving or living in a peaceful environment.
Are Material Possessions Important?
To determine whether some material possessions are important in your life, you need to draw a line between needs and wants. Anything that you don’t need and can’t afford is not important.
But at times there are some things that you need to live a comfortable life, such as a car, your own house, some basic furnishings, and clothes. These things will not be considered as material belongings although there is no guarantee that they will bring you happiness and satisfaction.
Things we want in life reflect our desires and if we start feeling more attached to these desires, we become materialistic.
There is a need to categorize things as important and unimportant so that you can experience happiness in its true sense rather than feeling pleased or blissful only for some time.
At the same time, some material possessions might have an important place in your life, for example, your engagement ring or something that reminds you of someone special in your life.
What Are Examples of Material Things?
Things that people believe to increase their status or make them more important in the eyes of others are material things.
We often waste money on things we simply don’t need, such as eating out, designer handbags and designer clothes, going to movies, a new cell phone, having a manicure, and so on.
If buying these things gratify us, we earn more money to spend on them. Instead of saving money or making our future financially secure, we get into a habit of wasting money and feeling depressed when we are unable to buy certain things.
Some people also consider the following as material things;
Social friends who are not sincere and would probably leave you when you need them the most.
A halfway there spouse who doesn’t love, value or respect you, and takes you for granted.
External Things that make you feel good about yourself.
Opinions that you acquire only to put others down whenever they get a chance.
An excessive amount of anti-aging products and cosmetic procedures to defy your age or hide your flaws.
Expensive belongings that only make you more worried about how to take care of them.
Instead of these things that only bring momentary happiness, you can replace them with a true friend, a partner that values you and holds you dear, and be more productive than focusing on impressing others.
Take time out for relaxing or going on a vacation with loved ones; spend money on these things instead of buying things that only make you more worried and anxious.
Do Material Possessions Bring Happiness?
When we are able to distinguish needs from wants, we find out that things that bring happiness are certainly not our desires but things we absolutely need in life to feel self-assured, important, valued, and relieved.
We simply don’t need things that would save us from social judgment or limit our thoughts to a certain level. We need to be free from all types of pressures that force us to buy things we don’t require.
Materialism is discouraged also because it harms our environment and makes us less sensitive to those around us.
We are less likely to help others simply because we don’t have time and we are not empathetic. Being content with what we have and having satisfying and fulfilling relationships in life as well as a sense of belonging and security makes us happy.
People often mistakenly link certain material possessions to happiness. But the truth is, these things only bring us a temporary feeling of gratification after which we either become insensitive, depressed or anxious.
We constantly think about taking care of our material things so that they won’t be stolen or misused. You don’t need fake friends or a spouse that doesn’t value you as a person. Similarly, there is no need to spend money on things you only desire or need to show off your status to others.
Learn to differentiate between things you value and things that only make you momentarily happy in order to live a peaceful and fulfilling life. What do you think about material possessions? Share in the comments below!