We equate the stuff that we wear, the stuff that we own, and the things we focus on with the quality of our lives. In fact, for far too many people, stuff or possessions are one and the same as self and self-worth.
This should not be a surprise because far too many people confuse price with value. We think that the more expensive something is, the more value it has, and we allow ourselves to feel worthwhile, appreciated, and acknowledged depending on the price of the stuff we have access to.
What is wrong with this picture? We live our lives based on what is expected of us instead of what we actually want for ourselves. Too many people live their lives based on values they uncritically and unthinkingly “copy and pasted” from others.
In fact, a lot of adult children are simply living their lives based on a script that they automatically imported from their parents. They did not stop to challenge the script.
In fact, a lot of people didn’t even bother to read it at all. They feel that since their parents live a certain way and thought about things a certain way that they should do the same thing.
There is no attempt at any kind of analysis as to whether that script makes any sense as far as their lives are concerned. They don’t think about a better fit between the script and the lives they are living out.
They don’t consider whether the script has a specific historical or emotional context that may or may not be relevant today. They just automatically assume that since somebody they love and respect chose to live their life a certain way, then this path is the way forward.
It is no surprise that Americans, by and large, are not happy. The end result of everything I have described above is not pretty. We Americans are overmedicated. We are maxed out on our credit cards and are overstressed.
In spite of all the money, time, effort, and mental energy we spend on getting more and more stuff, we are nowhere close to being content.
We are actually nowhere near to living the kind of joyful life we initially sought out to achieve. The reason for this is actually quite obvious – we live cluttered lives. What makes this tragic is that we are not even aware of it.