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The false idea that wanting or having “things” that make us happy is shallow & selfish, therefore we should not want them. This is considered being materialistic. However; there is a fine line between being materialistic & having a desire to express oneself.
Materialism is defined as; a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
"they hated the sinful materialism of the wicked city" ~ Oxford Languages
Is it possible to value materials and spiritual values at the same time, & possibly have those material items be an expression of those spiritual values?
To distinguish what is meant by spiritual values, this must be broken down into definitions of spiritual & values.
Spiritual means relating to people's thoughts and beliefs, rather than to their bodies and physical surroundings.
Values refers to importance or usefulness. If you place a particular value on something, that is the importance or usefulness you think it has.
Spiritual values relate to our thoughts and beliefs & how important or useful these beliefs are to us.
Materialism seemingly focuses on valuing tangible items & spiritual values are not tangible. However, what if those things we value materialistically are representative of what we value spiritually? Is materialism therefore in this case okay? Who decides anyway what tangible items are considered materialistic & what isn’t?
Materialism is objective and dependent on the thoughts and views of the individual considering it. There is no black & white line showing a definitive place where one embarks on a clear path of materialism.
With so many different opinions, views, ideas etc. who can decide if one person is materialistic? Often materialism conjures the idea of someone owning many things needlessly. Things that aren’t necessary outside of our basic needs.
Is it possible that some of those things that are seemingly outside of our basic needs is also the very thing that reminds us daily that our basic needs are met? Is it also possible that by having these things visually in our sight; or surrounding ourselves with them, it keeps us in gratitude, & in a space we enjoy living in, reminded of the blessings we enjoy?
“Collect things you love, that are authentic to you, & your house becomes your story.”
How does your house become your story? Our homes should evolve with us as we grow & move through different stages of life. When this is done, our homes become our story. When we look within the four walls of our home, we should consider if we’re simply living in a house, one we feel detached from that doesn’t speak of things that are important to us; or if we’re living in a home. Living in a home, we’ll see fractured pieces of us spread throughout it. Items that evoke warm memories of our childhood or loved ones, our travels, our unique journey, our favorite things & more.
“Design is coming to grips with one’s own lifestyle, one’s real place in the world. Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s well being.”
The items we choose to surround ourselves with may or may not be things we’ve had to purchase. For example, we may have keepsakes passed down from lost family members that keep us feeling grounded to our history & past. We may also have items we’ve collected from our travels reminding us to stay curious about the world & igniting our passion to learn more about places very different from us; or something that reminds us of a particular goal we have. We may choose to spend some money in order to surround ourselves in our favorite colors, decor & a style that we love looking at.
There are no rules defining how you choose to make your house a home. Doing so is different for everyone based on their life experiences. When we’ ve created a home as opposed to a house, a place we feel inspired & comfortable with, it becomes our safe haven, a place we choose to be that feels inspiring & safe. It nourishes us. Our home becomes an outward expression of ourselves. There is no set way to do this, only by following our passions, desires & allowing those parts of ourselves we choose to represent us outwardly. It’s good for our wellbeing.
“All these things we find our pieces of ourselves. I’ve built a future by rummaging through the past.”
When we choose to express ourselves in our homes, & what’s important to us, we’re taking pieces of ourselves from our past that we want to remember & build upon in our future. It connects us to our higher selves, as well as to be reminded of where we are heading (in the future) and why. It grounds us to who we are intrinsically & helps us stay on our own path. Look around your home & the things within it. Does each piece have a purpose? The area of materialism vs expressionalism is a fine, gray line. It is easy to start by expressing ourselves & for it to quickly become material in nature.
Here are some thoughts to consider that can help with deciding if something of interest is from a materialistic outlook or a form of expression.
It is possible to want or have things without being materialistic depending on the nature of the items & reasons for having them in our homes. If an item brings value, peace, growth or more to our lives & we’re better for it, then why not? More importantly, we should be less concerned about what others have than why WE have the things we do. What story does your home say about you?
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