Why are we so obsessed with material possessions?

Why are we so obsessed with material possessions?

If you needed to be convinced that our global society has a problem with material possessions, I turn to the following report. By the end of 2020, the combined weight of all human-made objects will far exceed all living things on Earth. Think about the reality of that statement for a minute and then ask yourself, why are we so obsessed with material possessions?

The pandemic has given us an opportunity to examine our lives and our priorities. For some, they are using this time wisely and making changes to better their post-pandemic lives, while others have no self-awareness and see nothing requiring change.

One area I believe we all could use a little help in (myself included) is this question of why are we so obsessed with material possessions. The accrual of more and bigger “stuff”.

I recently read an article on Maximize Minimalism which provides seven reasons why people become obsessed with material possessions. Let’s take a look.

  1. Improving your own self-image – caring how friends, co-workers and even family members perceive you.
  2. Expecting material possessions will boost your social status as they create an image of success – that you’ve made it!
  3. Competition amongst family, friends and peers – also see #1.
  4. Shopping and buying things is a thrill – brings immediate gratification which is often short-lived.
  5. Thinking that possessions will be what brings you happiness – also see #4.
  6. Influence of family, mentors and environment during early years – how our parents or guardians taught us about finance and possessions.
  7. Coping with or combating the fear of our own mortality – a reality many are experiencing during this pandemic.

As I scroll down that list, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve fallen victim to numbers 1-5 on more occasions than I care to admit – and I suspect many of you have as well.

So why are we so obsessed with material possessions? Look, it’s human nature to want to fit in, to be liked and accepted, even to be envied by others around us for the “things” that we have.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, and I hope it’s taught you the same thing too, it’s that possessions are lifeless, momentary and replaceable. The people who truly love you will love you regardless of what you have or what it represents in a materialistic society.

I guess then the real answer to why are we so obsessed with material possessions is simple really. Because we allow ourselves to be.

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One thought on “Why are we so obsessed with material possessions?

  1. 5,6,7 speak most powerfully. Especially 6 how the material world was presented as a child. Parents and grandparents living through the great depression..

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