It’s been easy to tag our culture as “materialistic”. Everywhere you look, there’s advertising. Shopping is both a past-time and an addiction. Surveys associate our economic health with our personal well-being. We must be materialistic. Right?
The accepted definition of “materialistic” is the devotion to things of the material world. As in, not devoted to emotions and ideas. But if we were really devoted to things of the material world, wouldn’t we enjoy them more? Wouldn’t we savor and share and revel in the physical world? But most of us aren’t doing that. We don’t take the time to enjoy what we have, to enjoy the world around us.
Raised Catholic, I was pre-dispositioned to view materialism as a sin. We were supposed to focus on sacrifice and suffering and give away our worldly possessions to the church. Not that many people did, but, the guilt was there none the less. Enjoying life was a guilty pleasure. Yikes!
Ask any psychologist. When you don’t let yourself enjoy what you have, you look for more. When you don’t let yourself enjoy life, you aren’t really living a whole life. I suspect, that’s how we become disconnected from one another; we are ashamed about our longing for happiness.
As human being, getting rid of our materialism is like getting rid of our ego. It’s not possible and may even be a very bad idea. It’s much smarter to look at it, embrace it and use it as a tool to live a compassionate life.
It’s time to claim your right to be happy and feel good. To enjoy the soft grass under your feet and the comfort of a warm blanket. Simple pleasures. If you want to break out of the world of consumerism and create a life filled with meaning, love and connection, you need to become more materialistic.
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