This I Believe

May 25, 2017

I believe in the act of being non-materialistic. The ability to overcome our greatest human instinct of want. We are mistaken by the meaningless accustomization of materialism; where it is thought that money can buy happiness and things can satisfy our desires. It always dawns on me (and I hope I’m not the only one) when I go to Ala Moana shopping center, and see people visiting from across the world, spending their vacations under fluorescent lighting in the clearance rack.

I am not trying to be hypocritical, so I must admit that I am one to succumb to materialism. It always feels like I am on this never ending path of searching for new clothes or shoes or bags. The thing is, there is nothing completely wrong with enjoying clothes or accessories, they are what make us- us. When you feel good in what you wear, you are bound to do great things. However, when you define yourself by what you wear and own, you will find yourself stuck in a rut.

I was once faced with the issue of materialism when I was in sixth grade. There was a giant brush fire in a field about 50 feet away from my backyard. The house that I had grown up in, and all of the content inside had the potential of burning down, but the one thing that I cared about the most was the well-being of my cat, my companion. There were no second thoughts about my clothes or toys or prized possessions-- it was clear as to what truly mattered. It was in that moment that I realized you can take everything away, and it is my relationships, my values, and myself that I am left with, and that is all that I really need.

I remember when that day turned into night. The glowing, now bare field emitted red emblems, representing all that was. I didn’t lose my house that day, but it sure did come close to it. Looking at that glowing field left me with overwhelming thoughts of how lucky I was. Lucky because I was immersed in a loving supporting community. Lucky because I had a place to call home. Lucky because I had such great family and friends. 
Studies show that nearly 9 out of 10 people with significant debt problems suffer from mental health disorders including depression and anxiety. As we are all fixated in consumerism and the constant battle of always wanting more, Mary Lambert states,  “We might as well be buried with our shoes and handbags and scarves”.

Whether you are faced with a fire, either literally or figuratively-- keep this thought in mind, if life were to come at you with burning flames, taking away everything you own, who would you still be?

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