I went on a short trip this weekend and found myself, as I often do, purchasing some things I don’t need. That initial thrill of owning something new is addictive…and short-lived.

Happiness is not for sale in stores.  It never has been. Excessive consumption simply leads to bigger, overfilled houses, with nicer cars, trendier clothes and fancier technology. It promises fulfillment, but never delivers.  As Eric Hoffer said, “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy”.

What would happen if we could break the chain? Curb the desire for wanting and buying more? Perhaps we would enjoy what we already have. Maybe we could even work less to support all this buying, unless the work was truly something we loved to do.

Of course, some consumption is necessary, but focusing on needs vs. wants brings an important change in perspective. Consider these small steps:

  • Recognize the urge to buy.  The impulse isn’t a command. You can ignore it.
  • Set limits. Decide how much to spend on decorating or how many shoes to own.
  • Enjoy the small moments. Take a walk, listen to music, have a conversation.
  • Embrace gratitude. You have enough. You are enough.
  • Be gentle with yourself.

Escaping excessive consumption isn’t easy. If it were, so many of us wouldn’t have to fight against it, myself included.  But it is worth it to live a life of “enough”.

What about you? Have you been seeking happiness in the world of “things”? Have you found some ways to let go?