How To Control Material Obsessions

By Subodh / February 8, 2014

Desire is a normal emotion. We all desire someone or something at one time or another. Children wish they could have the toys they see in a toy store. Teens and adults wish for the latest iPhone or tablet. Women salivate at designer bags and shoes when they can only afford off-the-rack ones, and men drool over sports cars but have to make do with the older convertible.

But when desire for things you can’t afford gets out hand and rules your thoughts day and night, this emotion becomes unhealthy. It becomes an obsession that leads to stress, discontent and general unhappiness. In their rational minds, many people are aware of this potential danger. Yet, they don’t know how to control themselves and may do things that can get them into trouble.

Most methods of curbing the desire for items you can’t afford involve emotional and behavioral modification. They are not too easy to adapt to, but perseverance and willpower will eventually get you there. Read on to learn about these methods and assimilate them daily. Before you know it, you’ll be surprised to discover that you don’t crave for material things as much as you used to.

1. Acknowledge the desire but don’t castigate yourself for wanting it. Recognize that it’s normal to want things and you are not being selfish for being so object-oriented. If you think you are a bad person for wanting something, it creates inner stress that eats at you and you become angry at yourself and resentful of people who have the item that you want.

Oftentimes, these things are not even expensive. But the sight of them on a store shelf tempts you, sometimes to the extent that you get them even if you don’t have a means of payment. According to the attorneys of the Law Offices of Elliot Savitz in Boston, a charge of shoplifting can have a serious impact on your future in terms of employment opportunities and preserving a good record.

Accept your desire without self-reproach, savor the thought and then leave it behind. It may seem unbelievable but acceptance of your feelings is actually liberating and you’ll find that your desire isn’t as strong as you thought it was.

2. Step out of yourself and get a different perspective. Sometimes the desire for the latest fashion statement, whether it’s a gadget or piece of clothing, can be so overwhelming that you are consumed by it. You experience anxiety from wanting it but not being able to have it and fear of being left behind by your peer group.

Take several deep breaths and focus on the present. Is having the object a matter of life and death? What’s the worst that can happen if you have an older model iPhone than your friends? Will they un-friend you for it? If they do, they may not be worth being your friends after all.

When you conquer your fear and anxiety of not immediately owning something you wish for, you can make it a goal instead and work for it. If you’re a student, you can negotiate with your parents to do extra chores in exchange for the item you want. If you’re working, you can give up nights out and new shoes to save for that something.

3. Be grateful. Count your blessings – a job when unemployment is prevalent, a great family, etc. This may sound cliche-ish and trite but it’s a tried and tested perspective. An attitude of thankfulness and gratitude keeps you positive and happy. Desire for material things is still there but you don’t get desperate over not having it because you are thankful for what you already have.