Don’t believe it? Analyze it.
Our family, friends, media, society, everything pushes us in the direction of being materialistic in some way. Everything is designed in such a way that one cannot even blame anything that has given a hand in pushing the person towards materialism. But for some, it is accessible and easy, for others, it’s like a credit card bill that they cannot pay and become a debt for them.
There are two ways materialism can be defined as; 1- Intrinsic: when you do something for your inner peace and with a greater motivation; 2- Extrinsic: when you do things to show-off, please others, for status, without any motivation other than just wanting it because the other person has it or getting something that is a symbol of wealth as decided by the society.
Our families, especially people who come from humble backgrounds, want their next generation to do well so that their children can have the pleasure of things they never could. They put their children in good schools, for one of the two reasons, either they want their children to access the opportunities provided by the school or they want to tell people that my child goes to that school.
Going on a shopping spree with a friend seems like the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon. But is it shopping for things you need or things you saw someone using and want to have too?
The media is a mastermind in tricking our minds to buy something we might not even need. And brands take advantage of that. Luxury brands establish themselves in the market with the motive of people wanting them. Being there but just out of reach for them. So, every materialistic person wishes for those things and saves every penny to buy that one thing.
All things combined make us want to own things, not for our pleasure but to live according to the societal normalcy that is actually the materialistic standards of society.
But why do people do this? Does it make them feel important? Seen? Of a higher standard than others? Less lonely? Or do they just do this to fit in?
So, how can a person get out of this web and become less materialistic?
Maybe the next few points can help to reduce materialism:
1. Focus on the intangible aspects of life
Maintaining Relationships, following one’s passion, self-improvement, knowledge, building habits are all intangible aspects of life that will remain with us till the end of time. They will also make our life more meaningful and maybe help us find the greater purpose of life.
2. Challenges and goals
If a person is busy chasing goals and completing the next challenge, he will not be interested in anything materialistic as he will not have time to think about anything around. But be aware that seeking those challenges and goals is done not to boast about them but to fulfill personal satisfaction of achieving them.
3. Budgeting and Savings
Living on a budget, saving, and investing a good amount of money, can also help in reducing materialism. But being sure to keep some money aside to enjoy earning that money is also important otherwise you might end up not saving at all.
4. Experience over Things
Save for short-term as well as long-term plans like save for that trip with friends and enjoy it the most, save for that cousin’s wedding and make awesome memories with the family, click lots of pictures and decorate them at your place.
5. Limit Media Consumption
Be aware of the type of media you are spending your time on. Algorithms nowadays are designed to make us buy something we have talked about with someone or wish us for things and spend by just a click on an advertisement or actually visiting the website.
Influencers are another part of this media consumption. We follow them and want to be like them and then use things that they do which they are endorsed to use.
We can’t stop using social media, but we limit our interaction with it and be mindful of the type of content we see.
6. Fulfilling other’s wishes
Use your money to fulfill the wishes of the people around you. This will not only ensure that your relationships with people are appreciated but also help them during their tough times. Giving Christmas/Diwali gifts to family or friends, giving a treat on someone’s birthday in your friend circle, can all lead to a feeling of satisfaction and make you feel good about yourself.
Or once in a while, spend your day doing some type of service where status is left at the door like going to a dog shelter or participating in a marathon maybe.
7. Surround yourself with people of matching ideologies
People around you, define you and make you because they influence you. And if you don’t surround yourself with that person who has 10 shopping apps in their phone and binge window-shop for hours like it is a storybook they are reading, it is going to make you not open those apps out of necessity.
It will also make your relationships with other people much more than about materialistic things. You will have a deeper connection with people and the quality of your relationships will improve.
8. Try Minimalism and Declutter
This is not easy but try. Decluttering can have a lot of mental effects. It can help clear your mind, solve a problem, make space for better things, feel free of attachment issues, and it will make you value the things that you have chosen to keep and show what is actually important to you.
Once decluttered, give minimalism a go now. The minimalist aesthetic is addicting if someone starts liking it.
9. Don’t let other’s opinions affect you
Materialism is a societal norm, and it is going to affect you. But all you can do is try not for others’ opinions to affect you and do what you can.
It is obviously very difficult to give up materialism altogether but we can work towards reducing it. If you see yourself slipping, try again.