In a world where we’re defined by the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and the size of our homes; material items speak louder than ever.
Materialism has been rapidly expanding and shows no signs of slowing down. With the majority of Western Civilization falling victim to a materialistic lifestyle, it’s become the norm to care more about what you own rather than who you are as a person.
We all know materialistic people in our lives. You might even be one of them. Material goods blind us from life, making it impossible to experience true happiness.
By seeing the different traps materialists experience, you can avoid them yourself and steer clear of transforming into yet another individual defined by their possessions.
1. They Always Need More
In a material world, more is never enough. There’s always a newer, bigger, faster, more high-tech version of what you already have. When it comes to material goods, there’s always a reason to need more. Satisfaction doesn’t exist.
2. The Rely On Instant Gratification
The beauty of material items is that you can easily fix a bad mood with a trip to the mall. The tragedy is this becomes an addictive cycle and the emotional lift never lasts.
Materialistic people are programmed to want everything now. This takes away the pridefulness in working hard to earn something that takes time to achieve, like mastering a craft or getting into peak shape.
3. They Crave Approval From Others
Materialists yearn for a sense of belonging. People want to fit in. So when everyone is getting a new iPhone or buying bigger TV’s it makes sense that you would want to do it too. However, materialistic people focus so much on the approval and acceptance of others that they never look for approval from themselves.
4. They Try To Buy Happiness
Materialistic people believe happiness has a price tag and can be bought in a store. Perhaps not literally (though I wouldn’t be surprised), but there’s always the feeling: “if I only had ____ then I’d be happy”. In reality, one more thing won’t make or break your happiness. If you aren’t happy now then buying a new pair of sneakers isn’t going to change that.
5. They Define Who They Are By What They Own
Every year, people all over the U.S. meet up in various locations to hangout with others who have nothing in common with them except that they all drive Harley Davidson Motorcycles. It’s a modern day cult where if you don’t own one, then you don’t belong. From a materialistic view, who you are underneath doesn’t matter anymore. It’s your possessions that show who you really are.
6. They Become Slaves To Their Material Items
After buying happiness and earning approval from others, rather than owning their possessions, materialistic people become prisoners to the very items they purchased. Always looking for new ways to signify their status, materialists become so lost in their possessions that they lose focus of the things that matter most.
7. They Treat People Like Material Possessions
Between beach bodies, calorie cutting diets, and idolizing super models, materialistic people treat others as products to be consumed. Both women and men become objectified into desirable goods sought after by all. Celebrities and “beautiful” people are considered super-human. Those of us who don’t have the proper appearance become like “the untouchables” from the Indian caste system.
8. They Get Trapped In The Noise
In the end, materialistic people become lost. There’s so much to be consumed that no one will ever have it all. Chances are, whatever you own, someone else has it too. This endless consumption creates clutter; both in their physical life, as well as in their minds. Since there’s so much to keep track of they can’t even remember everything they own.
What is the ultimate goal of a materialistic lifestyle? You could spend your entire life chasing physical possessions and you’ll die coming nowhere close to owning it all. The reality is that when you die, nothing is going with you. It’s all getting left behind.
By turning your focus inward rather than on what you own, and by accumulating experiences that last a lifetime rather than material items, you can avoid the chaos of the material world and live a life that means something to you. Because, when all is said and done, that’s what really matters.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com