For as long as I remember, I have always focused on the things I don’t have or the things that I so desperately want. Whether that was the cool phone that everyone was using or the trendy bag all of my friends had. Growing up in a society that is run by materialism and superficial ideologies, it’s easy to be dragged into the norms that these societies are based on. When the “cool” kids in grade school are all wearing particular brands, driving certain cars, and plastering the same makeup on their faces, it makes you question yourself and your own appearance. At least it did for me. As a kid I never really realised these things. I was the foreign kid for a while and that feeling of being different stuck, but I didn’t really care. There wasn’t much judgement amongst classmates when I was in elementary school, but everything changed in high school. All of a sudden, I entered a world that was run by things. And if you didn’t have these things (or couldn’t afford them, in my case), you wouldn’t quite fit in. You couldn’t fully be accepted in the cliques of the daughters of millionaires. Looking back at those days, I’m SO glad that I wasn’t formed to be a typical cookie-cutter girl. I ended up realising there are more important values in life than wealth and things. However, during this time of my life, I was conditioned to believe that these were in fact the things of importance in life.

Coming from a family who didn’t necessarily have much money, I was always desiring things that I knew I couldn’t have. And so, when I hit 15, I began working after school and on the weekends. I had several part time jobs over the years, but rather than saving up for school (or for future travels), I decided to spend all of my earnings on clothes, bags, and shoes. After all, that’s what people around me valued, so those are the things I should value too, right? Yet after years of cycling through this superficial lifestyle, I noticed that these things don’t bring me any real fulfilment or happiness. Sure, I had pretty things, but at the end of the day, I didn’t feel any better than I did before making those purchases. I knew that there are other ways that I could spend my hard-worked earnings, that would actually bring me real fulfilment. What I’m trying to get at is that if you place value in material things, you’ll never be satisfied. There will always be new trends. There will always be ad’s telling you that you need the new iPhone or a $60 t-shirt that says “Balmain” on it. But if you place value in those kinds of things, you’ll never find true fulfilment in life. In a society that’s dominated by superficial values, it might be difficult to stray away from what’s mainstream. But if you place value in things like educating yourself, travelling, or spirituality, you’ll soon realise that life becomes much more fulfilling. You don’t rely on materialistic things to make you feel of value. You start to perceive life in a completely different perspective. Happiness becomes more real and consistent. And at the end of the day, isn’t happiness one the most important aspects of life?

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