If anything has become clear this year, it is that happiness does not depend on the material things or the amount of money that one has. Happiness and inner peace go beyond the material and we have to place worldly goods in their rightful place in our list of priorities. Nowadays our society is one of excessive consumption and oftentimes, even if we have everything we need, we tend to covet the possessions others have and feel bad about what we don’t have. We crave success, power, and material goods, and we don’t stop to think about how grateful we should be for all that we have. A life of longing will never be fulfilling because even if you have everything you need, you will always be focusing on what you do not have. There will always be something more to wish for or to aspire to and you will never achieve the fictitious idea of happiness that you have created in your head, a happiness that is based on material goods.
Once all of our basic needs are met, happiness truly lies in the intangible. The problem with depending on materialistic things for happiness is that after a while the sensation starts to wane and wears off, and before you know it, you’ll be chasing the next cool item, or the next big job promotion, in search of recovering that feeling of excitement again. It starts to become an endless cycle of always craving the next best thing which always leaves little room for gratitude for everything we already have. It will lead to feelings similar to that of hitting a wall, because, at the end of the day, you start to realize that someone else will always have more.
The end goal should not be to never treat yourself to something material that might bring a smile to your face, but instead, the goal should be to redirect your desires and overall mindset to seek things that are way more valuable than something store-bought could ever give us. Things that we should pursue with great fervor that money could never buy include love, faith, compassion, justice, peace, and kindness, amongst many others. A laugh shared with a loved one, a friendship that transcends boundaries, trust earned through consistency, and respect earned by the virtue of your actions are all way more fulfilling and will be the things that you truly remember and cherish when it all comes down it. The most valuable things in life are not within money’s reach.