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zroamed Why are we told that buying stuff doesn’t make us happy?

Image cc: Peach Journal and Cardboard Sneakers

‘Money can’t buy you happiness’

‘Material goods won’t make you happy’

Is this true? We spend most of our lives and days working, so that we can get money, so we can get use that money to buy things. If those statements are indeed true; then we’re all running around like crazed buffoons dedicating our lives to the pursuit of absolute nonsense and futility.

And if so, Christmas is a farce.

Are we that dumb?

Or are those statements actually just what the well off say to the poor; in an attempt to keep them quiet and pacified (in case they try and climb the ladder and take some of their stuff)?

the confusion


Getting stuff feels good. Seeing something, wanting it, getting it; gives us a hit of endorphins. But this buzz is not genuine contentment, it is our ancient brain reward circuitry that evolved for times when resources were scarce, not for constant buying. The more we feed into it, the more we crave, and the less satisfied we become.

Feeling subordinate, lesser, is not good for our health. We see those who have more; more ‘friends’, more fucks, nicer car, better job; and we feel bad. This is our nature. We want to have just as much as they do or, preferably, more. So we acquire and spend money.

But there will always be someone above us with even more, and so we will never be satisfied in this way. We have to learn to use our competitive nature in a way that is healthy for ourselves and our society. Instead of looking up at those who you perceive to have more, look down at those who have less than you. (Not so you can spit on them and laugh, but so that you can extend a hand and pull them up too). Make the yardstick that you use to compare yourself to others, one that will drive you to build a more joyful life for yourself.

the facts


Certain items in our lives do spark joy. These are usually high quality, beautiful things that we use a lot and that last a long time.

Generosity makes us happy.

Freedom makes us happy, and money can buy us freedom.

This includes freedom from fear; fear of what happens if you miss rent, if your car breaks, if healthcare becomes expensive.

Spending money on things that free up our time, a cleaner, food delivery etc, has been found to make us happier, whereas spending the same amount of money on ‘stuff’ does not. 

Freedom from stuff makes us happy. Space to breathe, less decisions to make. Freedom from all that fucking shit falling out your bathroom cupboard when you’re in a rush in the morning.

the goods


Be suspicious of a wealthy person who says money doesn’t make you happy. What are you keeping it for then mate?

But be even more wary of falling into the trap of thinking that once you get those nice expensive things, or that raise, or into that income bracket; you’ll be happy. Because yes, freedom and security and time and frivolity can bring you joy – but if you’re NOT content – the stuff will not make you so.

The contentment has to come from within, regardless of the external.

Then the rest is just a bonus.

…And if anyone would like to buy me a vintage (not new – think of the environment) solid gold chain, hmu…


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