Material possessions are the units society provides to measure success. Consumerism flows into our lives from early childhood in the forms of commercials and other advertising. We long for the happiness we see on their faces. The growing desire for the satisfaction of having the latest and greatest products on the market is real. We aspire to feel and be seen as successful.
Those commercial images will lead us to believe material possessions can bring us happiness. We make a purchase and as a result, we feel that instant gratification. It drowns out some of the emptiness we were feeling. We are momentarily distracted from the voids in our life.
As time passes, the positive feelings about the object fades. At that point, we realize we gave up valuable time and space for something that’s worth has come to an end. Yet our obsession with finding material possessions to give us that delightful, albeit temporary, feeling continues.
What are material possessions?
Material possessions are the tangible property or belongings that a person owns. This may include a house, car, furniture, clothing, and more. Some possessions fit into the category of necessities such as food and clothing. Other items that are designed to enhance our lives, like the novel we curl up with on a rainy day, add value
Though these items are designed to improve our lives, many of them become clutter. Our homes become filled with items that become obsolete, outdated, or outcast.
How much value do we give things?
For some, material possessions have a level of importance because they intertwine their own value with the value of their belongings. A materialistic person may devote their time and energy to acquiring more possessions.
Unfortunately, the time and energy spent earning the money to acquire these things leaves little time or energy to enjoy them. So the rat race has begun with the hamster wheel spinning as the years pass.
Valuable time and energy becomes lost and can never be recovered. Opportunities to build fulfilling relationships fade. Adventures that become treasured memories vanish. The importance of material possessions depends on what you value in life.
Do material possessions provide happiness?
Material possessions can be the source of anxiety, feelings of guilt, and a sense of failure. Having too many choices can be distressing. Looking into a closet full of clothes that don’t fit can lead to feelings of failure. Piles of uncompleted craft projects create guilty thoughts of money wasted.
For those pursuing the American dream of home ownership, that possession has become a complicated holding. According to data from Census.gov, in 2019, “the median size of a completed single-family house was 2,301 square feet.” Compare that with their data showing “the median square footage of a single-family home built in the 1960’s or earlier stands at 1,500 square feet.”
The number of people sharing our home has decreased over the decades, while the size of the home has increased. Americans feel the need to fill that space. Our homes and what lies within those walls represents all that we hold dear.
Studies show the collection of moments we share with those we value are what bring us happiness. Precious moments are important for our emotional and psychological well-being. They fill a need in human beings that material possessions simply cannot.
As you go through life, find what truly gives your life meaning. Figure out what you value. Fill your world with moments worth reminiscing about when you’ve grown old. And always remember to check your material possessions for imperfections they may bring to the life you choose.