”How I Stopped Feeling Trapped in a Life I Didn’t Want”

 

 

farhangnews_207472-571170-1464769336

“Happiness is never found in materialistic things; it exists in things that cannot be physically possessed. Therefore, happiness is priceless. It can never be purchased.”

Money can’t buy you love. It can’t buy you happiness either.

Today’s materialistic world often urges us to buy the coolest gadgets, the trendiest clothes, bigger and better things, but research shows that possessions and purchases don’t buy us happiness.

So while we are being pushed towards materialism, it’s for monetary gain by corporations, not for our own happiness. Unfortunately, it’s hard to escape the trap of materialism, and find happiness in other ways than buying stuff online or finding joy in the mall.

But it’s possible. Here’s a guide to finding a materialism-free life and discovering true happiness.

thestate-southword2018-04190d92c0-d3bf-4562-9d59-43a45265f560venu7

Escaping Materialism
All around us, there are messages telling us to buy stuff. On the Internet (blogs included), we see continuous advertising trying to get us to purchase a product or service. It’s the main reason for television, and movies are continually made with products placed throughout, so that we aren’t always sure what is advertising and what was put in there by the director.

Flip on the radio or open up a newspaper or magazine, and you’re bombarded my more advertising. Go to a shopping center/mall, and the urge to buy comes from every direction.

This message to continually buy, buy, buy … and that it will somehow make us happpier … is drilled into our heads from the days of Happy Meals and cartoons until the day we die. It’s inescapable.

Well, almost. You could go and live in a cabin in the woods (and that actually sounds nice), or you could still live in our modern society, but find ways to escape materialism.

giphy

 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Limit television. Do you really enjoy watching TV for hours? Think about which shows you really, really love, and only watch during that time. When the commercials come on, go do something else. Or use Tivo to watch TV. You can even give up cable TV entirely, if you’re brave — I have, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
  • Eschew the news. Journalists will never tell you this, but if they’re completely honest, they’ll confess that the most important part of any news company, from TV or radio news to Internet or print new, is the advertising division. It’s the division that pays the paychecks of the rest of the company. The news is important in driving traffic to the advertising. So when you’re watching or reading news, you’re really being sucked in to advertising. Try this instead: boycott the news for a week. I’ve done it for about two years, and it hasn’t hurt me a bit. In fact, it’s helped me a lot.
  • Limit Internet reading. I’m not saying you should cancel your cable Internet subscription or anything. I love reading blogs. But find just those that you truly love reading, that give you the most value, and limit your reading to those. And just do it once a day, for 30 minutes or so. If you can do that, you’ve gone a long way towards tearing yourself away from advertising.
  • Give up magazines for books. Magazines are also designed with advertising in mind. And they rarely give you much value. Try reading an ad-free book instead. It’s a much better use of your time.
  • Don’t go to the mall or Walmart. The only purpose of these places is for you to spend money. If you just want a place to spend your Saturday afternoon, find a place where you don’t need to spend money to have fun — a park or a beach, for example. If you need to buy something, go to a single store (not the mall) and go in and get what you need. Don’t browse and walk around looking at stuff. You’ll get sucked in.
  • Monitor your urges. When you’re online, or watching TV, or at a store, keep track of the number of times you want to buy something. Keep a little notebook or index card, and just put tally marks. Once you become more aware of your urges to buy things, you can start to control them. If you could control them, limiting your consumption of media (see above tips) isn’t really necessary — although I would argue that it still gives you a better quality of life.
  • Use a 30-day list. If you still really want to buy something, put it on a list, and write down the date you added the item to the list. Now tell yourself you cannot buy that item for 30 days. It might be difficult, but you can do it. When the 30 days have passed, if you still want it, then buy it. But you can’t buy anything (besides essentials like groceries) without putting it on the list for 30 days first. Many times, our urges to buy something will pass during this waiting period.
  • Declutter. I find it pretty amazing to see all the crap I buy over a period of years, when I go through my closets and other possessions and start getting rid of stuff I don’t use or want anymore. It’s a gratifying process, and at the same time, it makes me realize how useless all our consumer shopping is. I don’t need any of the stuff! When you do this, you may be less likely to buy more stuff. Especially if you enjoy the decluttered look of your house as much as I do.
  • Find other forms of entertainment. There are other things to do besides watch TV or movies or read magazines or newspapers or the Internet. Try playing sports or exercising, or playing board games or creating art or writing or reading a book. Try doing fun things with your kids or visiting relatives and other loved ones. Try volunteering with a charity. I’m sure you could come up with 100 free or cheap things to do.
  • Buy used. When you get the urge to buy something, and you’re convinced that it’s needed, try finding it used instead of new. Look in thrift shops or garage sales or flea markets or similar places.

 

banksy-crucifixion-2

A True Path to Happiness
So, if you’re able to escape materialism, how can you find true happiness? There are many ways, and each of us is different, but here are some things I suggest trying:

  • Grateful list. Make a list of things about which you’re grateful in your life. Give thanks for them daily.
  • Think positive. Try eliminating negative thinking from your life, and thinking positive instead.
  • Small pleasures. Make a list of small things that give you great pleasure. Sprinkle them throughout your day. Notice other small pleasures as you go through your day.
  • Kindness. Practice random acts of kindness and compassion. Do it anonymously. Help those in need. Volunteer. Make someone smile.
  • Love. Make an intimate connection with your loved ones. Develop your friendships. Spend time with them, converse, understand them, make them happy.
  • Health. Exercise and eat healthy — it sounds trite, but it can bring great happiness to your life.
  • Meaning. It’s often useful to find meaning, either through a church or spiritual way, or through those we love in life or through the things we’re passionate about. Give yourself a purpose.
  • Flow. Eliminate distractions, and really pour yourself into whatever you’re doing. If it’s writing an article, like this one, really put yourself into it, until you forget the outside world.
  • Know yourself. Become attuned to what brings you happiness. Study yourself. Learn about what you love, and about your ability to love. Increase your capacity for compassion.
Advertisements

”Life is Limited..Live Unlimited ”

“Information is not knowledge.” ~Einstein

A few years ago I was lost. Frustrated. Scared. Unsure. Anxious. Trapped. Unfulfilled. Stuck in a dead-end job. Smothered by society’s expectations. Didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life.

I cared for myself enough to change my life, but I didn’t have the slightest clue where to start. I spent my days wishing that things would change—that I could escape a life that my soul could no longer bear.

The worst part of all, I was living the life that society had always told me to live. “Find a secure job, work hard,” they would say. “Get a solid job and work your way up the ladder.”

I don’t know about you, but it turns out that for me, the “right thing to do” sucked the joy out of life.

love-what-you-do1

Imagine feeling trapped in an unsatisfying existence. Wasting your precious time doing things that you really don’t want to be doing. Being afraid to express your uniqueness. Having fun on the weekends then dreading the upcoming week. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it; maybe your life is just like mine was, few moments of satisfaction drowned out by a constant grind of work that doesn’t fulfill you.

Then something hit me. It was a proverbial hammer to my head. I’d heard it before, but it had never sunk in. Then, as if out of nowhere, a voice in my head spoke loudly and clearly.

“Discover who you truly are and fully give every aspect of your uniqueness to the world. This is your path to an extraordinary life.”

I followed this wisdom as if my life depended on it. And I can tell you that my life has changed for the better since I followed this guidance.

I can tell you without any doubt that the greatest piece of wisdom that I’ve discovered in my life thus far is this:

If you want to live an extraordinary life it is imperative that you know who you truly are, and to do so you must explore who you truly are. 

These 6 questions changed my life forever. They will also change your life forever by allowing you to find your true self, and in doing so, discover why you’ve been born into this great world.

I’m not talking about the “self’” that others demand you to be or the self that acts a certain way to fit in and conform with what society accepts. I’m talking about the true you—the you who wants to authentically express your special and unique qualities to the world.

By answering these questions you will discover your unique passions, strengths, values, desires, and motivations, which are all yearning for your expression.

11-Maya-angelou-love-what-you-do-picture-quote

You have a unique purpose. Discovering the answers to these questions will allow you to align yourself with that purpose and bring real magic into your life.

Self-knowledge is the greatest knowledge that you will ever acquire. Why? Because your ability to fulfill your unique internal drive will determine your ability to fulfill your potential, which in turn determines the quality of your life.

The questions below are designed to help to know yourself deeply and find what is truly important to you. We all have an unexpressed potential; the exercises are specifically designed to help you find yours.

What do I absolutely love in life?

List anything that you love about the world and the people in your life. Think about any activities that get you excited and enthusiastic and make you feel most alive. This can be absolutely anything: music, sports, cooking, teaching others, learning, watching movies—anything. Within your love for these things lies deep passion.

 What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

List all of the moments that you are proud of as well as the times that you’ve succeeded. To have accomplished these, you would have used some of your key strengths. See if you can identify why you succeeded. Also, list any activities, hobbies, or anything else that you do that you complete with ease. Within these lie greatest strengths.

 What would I stand for if I knew no one would judge me?

List everything that you would do if you weren’t afraid, even your wildest dreams. This will help you discover your greatest values.

 If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

0_csIPbDyWUG0q5zVh

Describe your ideal lifestyle. List what you would do throughout the day if you knew that you were bound to be successful, what kind of person you would be, how much money you would earn, and where you would live.

This question allows you to realize who you would truly want to be if there were no limits. By aligning with this you can begin working towards the life that you truly want to create. Know that you wouldn’t have a desire if you didn’t also have the ability to fulfill it.

 What would I do if I had one billion dollars?

List everything that you would really love to do if you had all the money in the world. Okay, so you would probably travel the world, buy a house or two, and give some money to your family. Then what would you do with your time?

This question helps you to think without limitations. When we are able to remove limitations and boundaries, we can discover what we really want to do.

Girl

Who do I admire most in the world?

List your greatest inspirations and the qualities that you admire about these people. Think about what really inspires you in this world. What you admire about others is also a quality that is in you. Know that you admire someone because they have similar qualities to you.

Taking the time to answer these questions will change your life. The more that you can implement your passions, strengths, values, desires, and motivations into your days, the happier your life will become!

You can study to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or anything else, but this knowledge will only take you so far. Meanwhile, discovering the deep wisdom of self-knowledge will ensure that your life is far more meaningful and fulfilling. I’ve got a feeling that is what Einstein meant when he said: “Information is not knowledge.”

The most valuable knowledge that you will ever discover is, and always will be, within.