In a world where we have everything, we are constantly wanting more. More clothes, more technology, more stuff. Why do we need all of this stuff? Most of the time this stuff doesn't bring us full time happiness, it brings us temporary happiness. We are happy for a moment, until we want something else. The world we live in has rewired us to be a consumer. Where we consume everything just to fill a want, not a need.
I have recently watched a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things. It is truly inspiring how happy you can be with less. Our society makes it look like you need the newest thing to be happy, and that more is good. In reality, less is more. Having less makes you focus on the real things in life
People think that they will be happy if they have a big house, nice cars, and lots of money, but actually this does not lead to happiness. This is just stuff filling the void in our lives. Everyone knows the old term, money cannot buy happiness, but this phrase is freakishly true. Often times the more people have, the sadder they are. We rely on stuff to make us happy. The American dream is defined as making a six figure salary, giving your family more than enough to survive, buying what you want, when you want it. When in fact, the American dream should be the people working in unison to protect and value each other as human beings, to be equal in our society, and to be improving the world for the better.
People are no longer looked at by what they do, but by what they own. Our society is making us less happy because we are in a constant state of want. Television advertisements show that we need the new wardrobe or were not caught up in trendy fashion. They show that we need the newest car, the newest phone, the newest toys, to be happy. We are constantly being sold an item, whether it's on TV, social media, a magazine, or an advertisement, we are being sold the idea of how we should be living. We look up to people like the Kardashians, who have luxurious lifestyles and we think that everyone lives that way, so we must live that way too. When in fact, not everyone can afford that, or if they can, those items do not fulfill the void of happiness.
As a minimalist, every item in your life serves a purpose. If something does not bring you happiness, it's gone. There is no excess, there is only the basic needs. You do not live in a giant mansion, actually, people who live in big houses do not use many areas of the house, they only use the areas important to them. In the end, that big house is just for looks, and it's costing you more money than it should. Minimalist do not live to work, they work to live. Money is not the number one priority, because it can't buy happiness. Human connection, having friends and family that you are close to is the priority. When you become a minimalist, you value people more, you look at the world in a better and more positive way.
Minimalism can vary on different degrees. There are extremist, who live off what they can cary on their backs. There are tiny house dwellers, who live in small houses and only have what they can fit in the house. There are people who purge the unnecessary stuff in their life and simplify their lives. Minimalist just live for one thing; a fulfilled happy state of mind.
We can also minimize the social media use. Being on social media, especially as a teenager, can make you a materialistic person. You are always driving to be accepted because you have the most likes on your photo, or you got more retweets on a post. Social media makes us compete for who has more popularity. If a celebrity post a photo of a certain shoe brand, suddenly everyone has that same shoe. It's a market for the younger generations. Social media is linked to depression and anxiety. When people are on Instagram, they envy what other's have, what they own, or how they portray themselves, and many people are prone to becoming depressed. Getting rid of media or 'unplugging' is not only a benefit for our mental health, but it's a benefit for our well being.
Our world values things over other people. When in fact, things do not bring us happiness. People bring us happiness. Friends and family bring us closer together as a human race. So just remember one thing, 'love people, and use things, because the opposite never works.' - Ryan Nicodemus.