Look at this picture; I am clearly elated. The beautiful strand of pearls didn’t make me happy. The handmade chiffon skirt didn’t make me happy, nor did the turquoise statement ring. The unknown snorting, bowlegged bulldog running up to me full force, prowling for kisses—now that made me happy! What is my point? Things don’t make us happy. We pack our lives full of stuff. Stuff we want, stuff we think we need. Stuff, stuff, stuff. More and more. Yet those things can overcome us and fill our lives with clutter, both mentally and physically.
I have, for a while now, opted for a lifestyle which requires less and less. I hover on the precipice of minimalism. Over time, I realized all my possessions didn’t bring me joy; it was experiences and it was people (and dogs, of course). The more I freed myself from having the latest and greatest things, the more happiness I felt.
Through our consumption of media we are being sold stuff. Every. Day. In magazines, on social media, on blogs, up on billboards, etc. Buy this car and you will find happiness. Spend X dollars to get this new [gadget/handbag/outfit] and it will bring you complete and utter bliss. Well, no it won’t, that is called marketing. It may give you a dopamine rush with the thought of being “new,” yet once that passes (and it always does), you are right where you started.
“I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer.” -Jim Carrey
Like any human, I still buy things and hold onto items which I enjoy. I just try to be mindful of what I am purchasing. I think to myself: Do I really need this? Will it bring me joy, not just now, but long-term? Will it last? Can I live without it? And usually, the answer is yes, I can live without it. I also think of what in life really makes me happy, and instead of buying things, I seek out the true joys. Those joys are time with my husband, our dogs, seeing family and friends, my quest for education, photography, blogging, and traveling.
The next time you find yourself cruising the aisles of Target, remember happiness comes from within. De-clutter your life and find the good stuff that lies inside each and every one of us.
Want to read more about my personal story? Check out The Truth About Finding Happiness.