In our life and business Here's how our materialistic culture creates MORE stress, and we continue to fall for the stress trap.
Let's break free!
In our life and when we are running companies, we all know that money is required to live and to thrive. That’s a pretty basic life lesson 101 thing.
In all of this, by the way, I am not saying that money is evil. I also don’t think all should live without any possessions either. There is an in-between and there are choices that are healthier than these extremes. The energy of money can be so good as it can be used to fuel your purpose, can help provide safety, and be used to help others in need. In general, it can be used for good to help this world move forward. It’s never the money that’s evil, but the human behind the money that can be. Money is neutral and we can give it either a positive or negative influence in the world.
Money should be used to continuously fuel humanity towards a better place. Collectively.
However, greed and materialism go hand in hand. These are two things that plague humans that have an insatiable desire to own more and more things. Some even believe that is how they can achieve happiness.
I get it, I've been there.
Twenty years ago when I was in my early 20’s, I was there. I used to struggle with worrying about having “the house” and “the car” and keeping up with those fake Jones’ down the block. Then there were also the purses, shoes, and the clothes to be better than... better than who? I don’t know, it didn’t matter who! I used to think that I cared a lot about them so I used to have greed and materialism in the blood.
Something we have to be VERY careful of is how we're creating our own stress by focusing on the WRONG THINGS.
And this causes STRESS.
Then before I turned twenty-five, something profound happened. I decided (quite abruptly) to rip myself from that environment to create a new existence. Leaving a narcissistic ex-husband and all the things that came with his life (OH, did I make some horrid choices then, yikes). Things that took a long time to try to forgive myself for, but I chose to tear myself down so that I could repair and rebuild to get to the core of who I truly am. I took all those things away piece by piece so that I could awaken fully to what life is really all about. And, this helped me understand how to get on the right path looking within, not out there.
The stress of "having the things" to keep up with "other people" was overwhelming.
In short, I came to a huge realization. Life simply is NOT about houses, cars, or shoes. Not even close. There are a lot of wise minds throughout history that can attest to this.
Great men [humans] are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I started on a path towards consciousness back in my mid-twenties, all the while still being that pay my own way through college and corporate woman. I was focused on working my way up that ladder and getting to those six-figure paychecks and senior-level positions. That in and of itself was incredibly stressful! The striving and hunger to "make it to the top" was just another way for me to create more stress for myself.
I knew something had to shift. I shifted and started to fuel a path of entrepreneurship (freelance realm/consulting). I had to make a choice to be healthier in this career-driven, now purpose-driven path. I knew I had to change the way I managed myself so I decided that I was going to start to:
- Build and create EXPERIENCES
- Never gloat and be “that person” that no one wants to be around
- Choose to never succumb to the pressure of society/social media silliness wrapped around materialism and greed to just get more and more things
Since the essence of life is shit can happen, the solution is that we’ve got to know how to live in a more neutral space and being greedy/materialistic is not the answer.
Here's how it causes us more and more stress:
The path to always desire more material things puts us down a hard road. The broken cycle of wanting more and more stuff keeps humans in a place of fear and living in a state of anxiety. What if I lose my job? What if my company lays me off? The thought cycles that make that important thing called sleep go bye-bye.
Having a focus on materialistic things in life and trying to explain love in terms of material things is a broken and twisted cycle. One that’s often handed down in a family, or as a diseased mindset caught from general societal pressures and social media BS. That pressure is the thinking that if we just get that other house, that bigger house, or that other brand name car, etc. THEN we FINALLY be happy and life can now be called a success. Sadly, those concepts couldn’t be farther from life’s truth and purpose.
Having an obsession with shopping and acquiring stuff, an example of consumerism, this is fueled by the same greedy, negative energy that leads down a dangerous path.
“A value system that is preoccupied with possessions and the social image they project, is both socially destructive and self-destructive. It smashes the happiness and peace of mind of those who succumb to it. It’s associated with anxiety, depression and broken relationships.”
– George Monbiot, The Guardian
There are many studies that show this is true. A series of studies published in the journal Motivation and Emotion showed that “as people become more materialistic, their well-being (good relationships, autonomy, sense of purpose and the rest) diminishes. As they become less materialistic, it [well-being] rises.”
The negative (darker) path is that most people today live one job loss away from financial ruin and/or bankruptcy. Imagine that, especially because those things that are being purchased are just to tell other people about them. You know those kinds of people because they post it all over social to say “hey, look at me and my new [insert pointless object here].” That’s ONLY to gloat and to ensure others notice how “successful they’re being.”
This is no joke. Millions of Americans are just one paycheck away from ‘financial disaster’ as was found in a study conducted and noted in MarketWatch (May 2019). That means the new car, that house, or whatever materialistic item purchased that is used to say look at us could be the very things that cause relationships to break, create a destiny leading towards financial ruin, and so much more. Why? Because there is NO security anymore.
But, all that stuff looks good on social media, doesn’t it? This is mostly why the broken cycle keeps going; to look good on the outside. People feel better if they can have “that bigger house” or some other thing and then tell people about it, this is a really bad habit we call gloating.
An important fact here is that those people you’re constantly comparing yourself to on social aren’t living the luxury life that you think. Remember, you don’t see behind the closed doors and the struggles, the REALITY of what constant desiring of materialistic items can do to relationships and lives. Go check out this article and you'll see what I mean.
So what needs to happen?
It’s pretty simple in the way that we can choose a more conscious path. Less focus on things and more focus on being of service, living with a purpose, and essentially just the simple idea to choose a conscious path that isn’t focused on stuff.
When we're working our asses off, we want to ENJOY. We all need homes, we all deserve nice stuff to make us feel safe and cozy, but there is a huge difference between what one needs and what one wants because it would impress someone else. There is also a HUGE difference between how a person handles their life. A person that goes and gets things and does NOT gloat is the kind of human that is not seeking attention nor glory from others to fill a void within them.
However, that other person that gloats so that they can feel better about themselves and try to induce envy in others is absolutely trying to fill a void in themselves. The humans that say “I’m so blessed for [insert material things here]” doesn’t understand the concept. That is just a way to gloat and to try to induce envy in others to desire what they have. They seek to receive those envious remarks on social media saying “you’re so lucky” so they can feel better about themselves.
Neel Burton M.D. talks about envy beautifully in his article on Psychology Today called The Psychology and Philosophy of Envy, “In life, we are rich not only by what we have but also, and mostly, by what we do not. It is all too easy to forget that the investment banker or hedge fund manager has effectively sold his soul for his ‘success,’ with so little spirit left in him that he no longer has the vital capacity to enjoy the advantages that he has acquired. Such a man is not to be envied but pitied. To keep a lid on envy, we have to keep on reframing, and reframing requires perspective.”
We have choices!
A HUGE SHIFT would be to focus on having amazing life experiences, not that bigger house. If more realized that path then this could create some massive change. But, it's not bad to have that bigger house, what would be even better is if humans stopped gloating and just did things so as not to seek glory and had more of an intense focus to become better humans, that would create change.
By choosing to focus on expressing the soul’s purpose, serving others, and living life in a non-consumerism, less greedy/materialistic way, that could change the world. These behavioral and mindset shifts would have a greater effect on humanity overall, there’s no doubt.