Goodbye Materialism, Hello Happiness

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2017 was the year that I finally set myself free from materialism and it was the best decision I ever made 🙌.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I spent [most of] my birthday and Christmas ca$h on materialistic items in an attempt to momentarily feel happy. Over the years, especially during my college years, I learned that wasting money on impulse purchases not only burns a hole in my wallet but my bank account takes the final blow as a consequence for my poor decisions.

Luckily, I learned the value of money from an early age. My parents taught me that money does not grow on trees and if I want something badly enough, then I need to work hard for it. There is a misconception that only children are spoiled, selfish brats, which may be true for some kids, but I do not consider myself to fit that stereotype. Honestly, it infuriates me when people assume that I possess this quality just because I “appear” to be spoiled, whatever that is supposed to mean.

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Window shopping at the Mall of America in 2017. I left the store empty-handed even though these stuffies are cute. 🍌🎂

Be-grateful_Daily-Inspiration_The-Red-Fairy-ProjectA turning point occurred prior to moving out and living life as a 20-something independent post-graduate just trying to make it on her own, alongside her soulmate. Honestly, I could not imagine my life without my husband. I often wonder, where would I be today had I not met him? Would I still be living with my parents, hiding in my room all day, while caught in a mess of never-ending-drama-infused-quarrels among my friends, especially online? Social media was definitely my fuel for real-time connection, but was I really connecting authentically?

Unlike most of my peers, I try my best to detach myself from ego, likes, and popularity contests. Seeking approval and searching for happiness that is purely ego-driven is a pathetic way to live and sadly, too many people choose to base their happiness on external validation. I see it way too often, especially among my close friends, where their motives are purely ego-driven and they base their self-worth on the number of likes they get on an Instagram or Facebook photo. Personally, I am relieved to have left this realm where I no longer have the need to participate in this glass-ceiling dream of egotistical satiety or having to impress people I don’t like with stuff I cannot afford.

News flash! the ego is never satisfied. 😱

Throughout my young life, I have been trying to please other people and conform because I wanted to fit in. If normal is seeking everyone else’s approval while failing to love ourselves, if normal is relying on external validation such as the number of likes or comments or shallow happy birthday wishes we get once a year from people we barely know IRL, if normal is wasting countless nights dwelling on our past mistakes and wondering why we were ghosted by whatshername, then I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want that extra baggage weighing me down. The moment you realize that none of this stuff matters (external validation) is the moment you will set yourself free and start living a better life.

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I’ve only been to the Mall of America once in my lifetime and I would like to go back one day.

I am curious to know whether or not you embrace minimalism. Also, what are your thoughts about seeking social media validation? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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25 thoughts on “Goodbye Materialism, Hello Happiness

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Your article is very good and I couldn’t agree more!👌I too had to leave Facebook because I was fixated on what other people were doing. Social comparison, especially on social media is the thief of joy. I didn’t delete my Facebook account but I can’t access mine easily. In order to break the addiction, I gave the account to someone else who knows the password. My account just sits dormant and even though I could use it now that I have more time, I have no desire to return to FB. Thank you for reading my blog post today, and I appreciate your insightfulness. 😊💕

      Liked by 2 people

      • Stay Alive says:

        Can relate word to word what you wrote. I like wordpress because people talk about real stuff here. No one pretends to be fake and everyone genuinely wants to help one another 🤗

        Liked by 2 people

  1. V says:

    Firstly, your family is so precious.

    Secondly, I really enjoy that with your posts you initiate a conversation. I think conversations like these are important to have.

    I would definitely consider myself a minimalist. My entire life’s belongings fit into three rubbermaid bins and one suitcase, and it still seems like a lot to me. I would say it’s been about 10 years since I had my ‘come to’ realization you mention above. We seem to be very similar in a lot of ways.

    Social media validation has never really been of interest to me. Which is probably why I find myself wishing to be anonymous online. That being said, I seek validation through work. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve struggled so hard this year in not working – I want that validation back. It’s a vicious circle that your post definitely has me thinking about tonight.

    I often wonder if it would be the same if I was married or had children. That being said, we can all only speak from experience. Have you ever sought validation from a job?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you so much, V! It’s not often I post photos of myself but these photos really fit the theme of materialism. I read somewhere that initiating conversations is some kind of call to action (B2B lingo). A couple months ago, I wasn’t getting many comments at all and it felt like I was talking to a wall. And talking to a wall isn’t enjoyable or engaging at all.

      In terms of minimalism, you have me beat. My non-minimalist husband has way more stuff than I do but he is trying to embrace minimalism. He wants a bigger place to live, which concerns me because bigger means more places to store things and more stuff to collect! The worst offender in terms of non-minimalist is my daughter. She has the most stuff because people keep giving her gifts and we often have to lug home multiple suitcases of her stuff home with us! I have approx. 5 large (empty) suitcases sitting in storage which need to be returned to my in-laws who live across the country.

      Social media validation used to be the way I compared myself to others to see if I was living up to society’s standards. It was exhausting and depressing. Having multiple anonymous FB accounts seemed ideal in order to get away from people and speak my mind. I figure that people who know me personally are welcome to read my blog, but as I learned from previous experiences, not a lot of people care. Therefore, I concluded that it is safe to use my real name for this blog.

      It’s interesting that you seek validation from work. What kind of work were you previously doing? Validation from work has not been the case for me since I never truly felt passionate about the jobs I had in the past. I feel like people may seek validation from life accomplishments, whether that is school, marriage, career etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • V says:

        I worked as a Public Relations Specialist for a large(r) company for almost a decade. I loved the work, I really do think my heart is in Public Relations/Communications.

        It was definitely one of those jobs that you always had to be ‘on’ so to speak. Dealing with that many people and having that many people know you, there’s definitely some validation sought in that… if they like you, you must be doing a good job in PR. Right? I don’t know. Just the way my brain works.

        Liked by 1 person

      • V says:

        I totally believe it about a kid being the one with the most stuff. Babies get given EVERYTHING. On the one hand you’re thankful that people think of your child and on the other hand you’re like… “There’s no way my child needs all of this!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        Exactly! You stole the words out of my mouth. I appreciate their kindness but does she really need all of this stuff? It saves us the hassle of having to buy her toys since she has everything she needs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        Kids don’t need fancy things to be happy. There’s so much you can do with a cardboard box. My dad transformed a cardboard box into a cat house which I got to paint for the cat. My cat also thought it was pretty awesome! 😂

        Like

  2. popsiclesociety says:

    Our life is more important that social media validation! I’m glad that you’re not looking for it anymore! You have such a beautiful family! Enjoy your life and don’t care about what the others are saying or doing! 💕🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting ❤️ I totally agree! My husband is still very materialistic and thinks that more is better. I’m hoping to show him what living simply can do for the family. He’s starting to see the positive aspects of minimalism, so I try to lead by example.

      Like

  3. Galit G. Balli says:

    I can totally relate as this is the journey I am going through right now 🙂
    taking a distance for this never-ending competition to be better, have more and look better. I am so tired of consuming things, social media, and even Tv.
    My journey started just as 2018 has ended but I am slowly getting there.
    Minimalism has become a huge part of the future I want for myself and for my family and be more mindful of what I really want and need and not just scrolling through endless posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Yessss, I’m totally agree! 🙂 It is just so easy to consume these days, which is why blogging is such a good antidote because it forces us to create rather than passively consume media. Also, I noticed that so many people order online which is something I refuse to do. In the past, I was often disappointed with the purchase whenever I ordered online so I just stopped. It is a slow journey for sure but this lifestyle is worth it. I wish you the very best on your minimalism journey. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Galit G. Balli says:

        We think alike, hehe. With all the stress with mom’s illness and life, hehe I found that blogging is just the cure I need 😉
        I rarely order online mostly a book or two every few months from book depository (where I live english book are very rare) and my passion planner ❤ Other than that I can't bring myself to buy anything online.
        Thanks Hilary I do hope that my husband will get used to this lifestyle 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. wifeblah says:

    First of all I love your site it’s very clean and I fell in love with your text. They are sooo easy to read! And your content is really good 🙂 🙂 Another thing, your baby is soo cute. By the way, what are my thoughts about social media validation – maybe for now it matters to some other people, but eventually they will be tired of it. The moment you know what’s happiness really is, you will realize social media validation has nothing to do with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you so much for your compliments! 😊💕 Hmm… when it comes to social media, I gave it up in 2018 because it wasn’t making me feel good. I often felt worse whenever I used social media and ended up forfeiting a semester due to major depression. I miss social media but the social comparison game is not healthy in my opinion. I feel like people only display the good things in their lives which does not benefit anyone long-term. With blogging, I feel like we are able to be more transparent. 😅

      Like

  5. Invisibly Me says:

    Great post – it’s so refreshing to read, especially when we’re usually bombarded the opposite! I love the thought of minimalism, and I do try to live that way to a degree. I still enjoy ‘things’, but I’m far more appreciative of the small things, I don’t have spare cash so I can’t buy much anyway, and I try to streamline other areas of my life, too. Like with social media, I use it for my blog but little for personal use, so I don’t get caught up in external validation or comparison and such all that much thankfully. I agree that letting go of a lot of this stuff, realising that it doesn’t matter in the long run, can be such a weight lifted.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Caz! Yes, I totally get where you are coming from. Things are nice to have, but are we ever truly satisfied? Personally, I don’t think we will ever be satisfied with “things.” No matter how much I buy or have, there’s always more to buy and have. Almost all of the things I own either bring me joy or serve a purpose which seems to work well.

      In terms of social media, I am finding a degree of digital clutter which is another thing I need to tackle. I love how you don’t use social media for social validation and instead, use it solely for your blog. I wish I had that kind of willpower, but my weakness is getting caught up in the never-ending self-comparison trap. -Hilary

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Me too Jenny, me too. I still find my house way too cluttered for my liking and find myself throwing a lot of things away. My biggest issue is my husband’s stuff since he doesn’t like to throw things away. Most items I buy are consumables that I can use, rather than collectibles.

      Like

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Personally, I am not a minimalist when it comes to stationary, but that’s OK! ❤ I try to only keep things that bring me joy. Since I use my stationary, I end up giving it away so I don’t end up accumulating too much at any given time.❤

      Liked by 1 person

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