The Secret Meaning Behind Our Material Desires

Sometimes, there is a secret meaning behind the material things we desire. Digging deeper into what we want can reveal our hidden dreams.

When we want something material, it’s sometimes not the actual thing we are seeking. Instead, we are searching for something more. There is often a secret meaning behind our material desires. It might be a feeling or some validation or to find our life purpose. Shopping for stuff is often a displacement activity we use to replace what we really want. Often, the reason we avoid doing what we really want is fear of some kind. Fear of failure, fear of success and fear of what other may think are common culprits.

Our materialism isn’t shallow. Far from it. It is connected to our deepest dreams for our lives

It’s relatively easy to work out what is behind your material desires. It’s just a question of asking why you want what you want.

For example, I am addicted to stationery. One of my favourite activities is shopping for new notebooks, pens, and folders. Whatever the stationary department has on offer, I want it. But I have more than enough stationary already. So why do I desire more? I figured out that, subconsciously, I believed that having the right stationary would turn me into a more successful writer. With the right notebook and pen, computer and desk, I would finally write that brilliant novel that, in my most ambitious moments, I believe I am capable of.

Another obsession I have is handbags. This was a more difficult one to fathom. I’m not particularly fashion conscious. I’m not obsessed with designer labels. So what could be behind my penchant for handbags? I finally realized my desire for the perfect handbag is also part of my desire to be a novelist. The perfect handbag would be just the right size for a big notebook and pen so I could jot down my brilliant musings on the bus (I rarely even take the bus). It would also make me more organized and efficient. I would therefore finally have more time to write.

Working out why I want what I want has actually guided me towards my life purpose.

Some of the things we want are about the feelings we desire to have. We may want to feel more glamorous, successful, confident or loved and somehow we think we can buy our way to that feeling. Often, we truly believe that those running shoes or that gym membership will make us fitter. We think the perfect outfit will finally enable us to get the dream job or the perfect relationship.

So our material desires really do offer us clues as to our deepest dreams and desires.

Our material desires also relate to comfort much of the time. In a world that is often difficult to negotiate, we seek the comforts that help us relax and be happy. This may be food, furniture, flowers, gadgets or pretty much anything that helps us switch off and reward ourselves for our hard work.

Sometimes our material desires quite obviously point to our deeper desires. A stack of books about interior design would be a big clue. But sometimes they are subtler. Does your love of clothes mean you just like to look fashionable? Maybe. But maybe there is more to it than that. Perhaps you have a secret desire to be a fashion designer or to have your own boutique.

The point is, we can find clues to our secret desires in the material things we own and the things we wish for. Take a look around your home and see what secret meaning might be hidden in your possessions. Next time you want to buy yourself something ask yourself why exactly you want it. If it is because of some feeling or experience you hope it will bring you, consider whether that is really true. It might be better just to get out for a run, phone a friend, or sit down and start that novel!

This doesn’t mean I am against buying what we want and desire. It’s just worth asking these questions so can find the secret meaning behind our material wants. This way, we won’t waste our lives buying things in the hope that they will help us achieve our dreams. Because ‘material things’ rarely do that.




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