The majlis: Does living in a material world enrich us?

Many of our young people have an irrational sense of self-purpose, hope and optimism but their well-being diminishes as a result of being more materialistic.

Money can buy happiness in the UAE. It’s a bold statement, but many people in our society judge others by how much money they have, and believe that the more money one has, the happier they are. Yes, we all want to look good and drive the best cars, but what does it really prove? And to whom?

Don’t get me wrong, money can be a good thing if we use it as a tool or “means to an end”. It takes money to buy homes, cars, clothes, toys, food and most of the good things in life. But if we only see money as the end goal then it can have a reverse effect that leads to depression, anxiety and broken relationships.

Many people are attached to the concept of materialism and have an affection for it. They are so “into” money, and so consumed by it that they don’t notice anything else. They allow themselves to believe that material possessions, such as money, are the most valuable, but often this is at the expense of important aspects such as spiritual life.

Many of our young people have an irrational sense of self-purpose, hope and optimism but their well-being diminishes as a result of being more materialistic.

It becomes socially devastating and self-devastating. For example, they would put material things over good relationships, autonomy and sense of purpose, all of which takes them to a high level of destruction.

Yes, money can buy us a bed, but can it buy us a sleep? It can buy us a Rolex, but can it buy us class? Money can buy us medication, but can it buy us health?

Close your eyes and think: does money really buy us happiness? Does true happiness come from our hearts, or wallets? Why do we let ourselves be defined by money? Why don’t we find our purpose in life? Why are we trying our best to fill a certain emptiness in our lives with money? Can’t we be happy without a Range Rover? Can’t we be elegant without a Cartier pen?

Simplicity is key. Materialistic people who strive solely for materialism, or follow this pattern, are never content because they pay no attention to the real life – the simple life.

If we don’t allow ourselves to be defined by money, or become attached to materialistic things, then we will be the happiest.

I’ve found that the natural world is so beautiful as it is, and the simplest things in life are the true fulfillers of happiness.

It is a dreadful mistake to allow ourselves to believe that we can’t be happy without money, because if that was so then it would follow that those who have money would always have happiness, and those who do not have money would always experience suffering. Yes, money facilitates, but true happiness lies within ourselves. It all depends on us alone, our attitude and imagination.

Think about the many people we know who have so much money yet remain unhappy, due to which their health deteriorates, and they are always on medication.

Conversely, we find people who live like beggars but who remain happy. It’s how we think in our daily lives that truly brings spiritual balance. There are states of mind that bring us complexity. Likewise, there are states of mind that bring peace of mind and happiness.

We just need to seek, cultivate and enhance our inner development.

Salem Al Hosani recently graduated from Zayed University with a degree in international studies, specialising in international affairs.

If you have a good story to tell or an interesting issue to debate, contact Ashely Lane on alane@thenational.ae.

Published: September 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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