A Nation Addicted To Hyper Consumerism:
America has little over 3% of the children in the world but have 40% of toys. Children are being introduced to brands at a young age. Shopping is convenient – at the click of a button, available 24/7.
First, there’s the physical excesses of techno materialism that’s clouding our real needs as humans. Between too many choices, too many gadgets and too many toys at our disposal, we’re losing our essential core as humans.
As of 2018, Americans were sitting on 33 billion dollars’ worth of unused tech and that’s taking space in our homes, hearts and causing cortisol spikes.
Next, there are the text and social media notifications, the apps to check out, the new videos on YouTube, the podcasts to listen to, the next levels to reach in games and inboxes clogged with email we never get to in a timely manner anyway.
This is how we continue to collect physical and mental clutter, day after day, week after week filling up our garages and our brains. We hold things for sentimental value and sad thoughts because we can’t let go.
How Materialism Sabotages Our Values:
“Materialistic kids have lower grades, and higher rates of depression and substance abuse than non-materialistic kids. They are less philanthropic and feel dissatisfied with what they have.” – Madeline Levine, 2006
The problem is with all this real and digital clutter, we’re forgetting that we have enough to begin with.
When we prioritize money, fame and possessions over other fulfilling aspects of life, it creates a paucity of time. Because we are constantly competing with others to level up, we feel exhausted and burnt out. It’s better to understand how others think and aspire as success and if it fits into our definition of what makes a great life.
We often wait for #GivingTuesday after our Cyber Monday of sales or our birthdays on Facebook to ask for donations to give to a charity. But, for giving something, shouldn’t we first get (buy or acquire) it? Unless, it’s our time for our loved ones. Drones are dropping off packages at our front doors, but HOW MANY of those do we really want?
How Much Is Really Enough?
We want to be happy with another car, with another spouse or with another internet service provider. On a daily basis, we use our expectations on our children and others as a gauge of our happiness. But how can anything that’s impermanent be a source of permanent happiness?
Material consumption can bring us happiness, but after a while, we’re back to craving that dopamine rush of excitement once again. We continue to consume more because the threshold of bliss is not being met. No wonder, Materialism is expecting the everlasting from the never lasting.
Remember, we have a choice to pick clarity over clutter. Giving up can only mean more time and more freedom. And, why can’t we just be happy, in the awareness of gratitude for life that has brought us here?
Bottom line, if anything, our time in quarantine can be a great opportunity to radically simplify our lives. Cue. Are we missing material things or the laughter of our friends and the hugs of our loved ones?