Understanding why material things don’t make you happy will help you to focus on what will.
It is usually in the back of our minds that material things will make us happy.
Because we think that having the “things” we want will finally give us what we need in life – contentment and satisfaction. But, it’s simply not true!
Studies have shown that more money does not equate to more happiness beyond a certain point.
So today, I want to talk about the constant chase for material things that do not lead to lasting happiness.
What are material things?
Material things are physical items that you can touch and see.
They are the objects that you surround yourself with. The clothes you wear, the house you live in, the car you drive, etc.
In other words, they are the things that make up your physical environment.
I wanted to make this point because material things do not include experiences that you can buy. For example, going on a vacation or taking a cooking class.
These are things that you do, not things that you own.
An important note
I have to point out that although more money doesn’t buy more happiness, a lack of money can certainly lead to unhappiness.
But, if you have your basic needs (Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs) met and are not living in poverty, then it’s time to rethink your materialistic pursuits.
Another important note that I want to make is that even if money doesn’t buy happiness, it can improve life satisfaction.
Life satisfaction is not the same as happiness.
Life satisfaction is how you feel about your life long-term. Whereas happiness is a fleeting emotional state.
But we are talking about happiness. About chasing material things in order to be happy.
What is the problem with that?
The problem of chasing after material things
The problem is that chasing after material things is a never-ending cycle.
You are never fully satisfied because you are always looking for the next thing to buy.
Have you ever bought something that you thought “This is it! This is what will make me happy!” only to find that it didn’t?
You want to move into a separate house from your parents, then you want to move to a bigger one, and then you want to move again into a better area. Each time you move, you are chasing after a bigger and better house.
I am not saying you should not strive for a better life. But, you should NOT believe that more material things will make you happier.
Do not live with the idea that one day you will become happy for the rest of your life.
It is not possible.
You will always find something to chase after.
Related: How To Stop Chasing Happiness?
Negative effects of materialism
The constant chase for material things can have some negative effects on your life.
Some of these effects include:
- You become less grateful: When you are always chasing after the next thing, you become less grateful for what you have.
- You lose sight of what is important: When you are focused on acquiring things, you lose sight of what is truly important in life.
- Your relationships suffer: The constant chase can lead to neglect in your relationships. You might be too busy working to make money to buy things instead of spending time with the people you love.
- You become stressed: The never-ending hunt can lead to stress and anxiety. You are always worried about money and working to acquire more things.
We deserve Sensible possessions
I am not here to say that you should not strive to improve your life. And I am not saying that you should live in a shack and never buy anything new (even if you live a simple life you can buy things).
What I try to say is that you should not base your happiness on the acquisition of material things.
We all deserve to have a comfortable life. We deserve to have sensible possessions. But, we should not believe that these things will make us happy.
What makes us happy?
There are many things that contribute to happiness, but one of the most important is our relationships.
Our relationships with family, friends and even strangers can have a big impact on our happiness.
When we feel connected to others, we are happier long-term.
Another important factor in happiness is experiences. Experiences can range from the simple, like taking a walk in nature, to the more complex, like going on a trip.
What is important is that we take the time to enjoy ourselves and create memories.
Related: Simple pleasures in life
Our attitude towards life
Our attitude towards life is also important. If we have a positive outlook, we are more likely to be happy.
On the other hand, if we are always looking at the negative, we will miss out on the good moments in life.
There are many things that contribute to happiness, but material things are not one of them.
Related: How To Be Happy With What You Have?
Reasons why material things don’t make you happy
We’ve explored a little bit the problem with material things. But let’s dive deeper into this.
There are many reasons why material things don’t make you happy.
1. You are never fully satisfied because you are always looking for the next thing to buy.
There’s always something new to buy, whether it’s the latest iPhone or a pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for months.
And once you get your hands on that new thing, it’s only a matter of time before you’re looking for the next thing to buy. It’s like a never-ending cycle.
You might think that you’ll be satisfied once you have the newest and best of everything, but that’s rarely the case.
There’s always something newer and better just around the corner, and you’ll never be able to keep up with it all.
2. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster.
We’ve all been there before.
You’re scrolling through social media and you see someone who has a nicer car, a bigger house, or a better job than you. Suddenly, all of your accomplishments seem to pale in comparison.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that someone else’s life is better than yours, but it is important to remember that comparison is the antithesis of happiness.
When you compare yourself to others, you’re never going to be truly happy because there will always be someone who has more than you.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own life and what you can do to make it better.
Appreciate your own accomplishments and strive to better yourself each day.
If you do that, then you’ll find that happiness is well within your reach.
3. You’re never really enjoying life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to focus on acquiring material things.
But if you’re always focused on acquiring things, you’re not really living your life to the fullest. You’re missing out on all of the little moments that make life so special.
Instead of worrying about getting material possessions, take some time to enjoy the simple things in life.
Play with your kids, take your dog for a walk, or just sit and enjoy the sunset. These are the moments that will truly make you happy and will help you to live a more fulfilling life.
4. You’re putting your happiness on wait.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to put your happiness on hold until you buy that thing.
It’s easy to forget that when we’re caught up in the cycle of consumerism, but it’s important to remember.
Happiness comes from within. Again, it comes from our relationships, our experiences, and our own state of mind.
So don’t put your happiness on hold until you get that new thing. Chances are, it won’t make you as happy as you think it will. And even if it does, it won’t last forever.
True happiness comes from finding joy in the little things and appreciating what we have – not from what we buy.
5. Material possessions come and go, experiences last a lifetime.
No matter how much you love your T-shirt, your car, or your laptop, they’re all going to eventually wear out and break.
They can be replaced, lost, or stolen. Does this mean that you are going to be unhappy if someone steals them until you get new ones?
How about experiential things? If you go on a vacation, take a dance class, or try new food, those memories and experiences will last a lifetime.
They can’t be taken away from you.
You can’t put a price tag on happiness, so don’t let material possessions fool you into thinking that they will make you happy.
True happiness comes from experiences, not things.
6. You waste your time.
Everyone enjoys having a comfortable home, a reliable car, and a few comfortable clothes to make life more enjoyable. There is nothing wrong with it. We need to shop and look for these things.
However, there’s a difference between enjoying the needed material possession and making acquiring possessions your primary focus in life.
When you’re fixated on acquiring stuff, you’re missing out on what’s really important.
You could be using that time to better yourself, spend time with your loved ones, or experience all that life has to offer. Stuff is great, but it’s not worth sacrificing your happiness for.
Keep things in perspective, and don’t let your possessions control your life.
Related: 16 Fun No Shopping Challenges Ideas
7. It’s hard to maintain all the things that you own.
Anyone who has ever tried to declutter their home knows that it can be a lot of work.
Not only do you have to physically sort through your belongings, but you also have to make tough decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.
And even if you’re successful in decluttering your space, you still have to put in the effort to keep it tidy. It’s no wonder that many people feel like they are constantly battling their stuff.
Of course, there are benefits to owning things. They can provide comfort, security, and a sense of identity. But it’s important to remember that we don’t need to own a lot of stuff. All we need is the essentials.
8. There is no such thing as never-ending happiness.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you just had that one thing, you would be happy forever. When in reality, there is no such thing as never-ending happiness.
Even if you do manage to buy that thing, the happiness will only last for a brief moment before it wears off and you’re back to where you started.
The key to happiness is not in acquiring things, but in enjoying the moment and appreciating what you have. It’s important to savor the good times and learn from the bad times because both are essential parts of life.
If you can do that, then you’ll always have something to be happy about.
9. You can’t buy happiness.
Though it’s an age-old saying, it bears repeating: you cannot buy happiness. True happiness comes from within.
It cannot be bought with money.
Of course, there are material things that can make you happy in the moment. A new car or a new piece of jewelry can give you a thrill. But that feeling of happiness is fleeting. It does not last. Sooner or later, you will get used to your new things and they will lose their luster.
I keep repeating it, but the key to happiness is to focus on the things that money cannot buy. Appreciate the little moments, cherish your relationships, and find joy in everyday activities. That is the recipe for a happy life.
10. Happiness is a state of mind.
Your happiness is not determined by your circumstances, not by material possessions. It is determined by your state of mind.
You can be happy no matter what is going on in your life.
And you can choose to be happy even though you don’t have that gadget. You can find contentment even if you don’t live in your dream home.
It all comes down to your mindset.
If you have a positive outlook, you will find happiness in the simplest things. But if you are always focused on what you don’t have, you will never be satisfied.
Remember, happiness is a state of mind. It’s up to you to choose it.
If you want to be happy, don’t let material things be your primary focus in life. Keep things in perspective and savor the simple moments.
Appreciate what you have, and let go of the things that don’t matter.
That is the key to a happy life.
I hope this article was helpful in convincing you that material things don’t make you happy. If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences, you are more than welcome to do so below! I would love to hear from you!
Have a happy day!