To what extent should a person’s income affect and control his life, and his psychological well being? What happens when a person, who has made a decent income, suddenly loses his job, or the stock market plummets? Is he/she not human?
- What is your “self” worth?
- What do you have to contribute?
- What makes you loveable?
- Are you expendable?
- Are you important?
- How do you know?
Many people believe that if they are “worth” something, then they can have “self esteem”.
- Why is it that so many of us believe that we, as human beings are not worthy of love, respect and dignity if we don’t have the materialistic items that symbolize success?
- And why do these materialistic things symbolize success?
If we have our spiritual, psychological, emotional, mental and physical needs met, we should be content, right?
- Where is this craving for more and more coming from?
- Do we believe that by acquiring more and more, we will become more valuable or loveable?
- Do we believe in some kind of “magic independence” when we will not need to depend on anyone in the world for anything?
- And what if that “magic Independence” comes? What does it buy us?
Money is a tool that is used to exchange for goods and services that an individual believes will either help them survive, or will help them to better their quality of life. We all have survival needs. And we all have a picture in our minds about what our own role is in helping our own selves, our family and our community to survive. The role that we perceive ourselves as performing serves to give us a sense of identity, a sense of “I”. The human needs that sense of “I”, in order to survive psychologically.
In today’s world, we have come to attach our identities to the amount of money that we make. On a survival level, this can be very powerful. Men often identify with the role of provider and protector. In our contemporary society, we use money to provide and protect our families. Women are now also among those who feel responsible for providing and protecting with the use of money as well – the pressure is on; and it seems to be increasingly difficult to get the basics – but what are the basics?
- Are we content with food, clothing, shelter, safety, and each other?
- Or are we becoming insane with consumerism?
Perhaps we should analyze what we think will make us happy.
The development of identity begins with our awareness of our self in relationship to our environment. As we develop and grow, we adopt beliefs about what will make us worthy. We then attempt to develop those qualities within ourselves, and this becomes our self image. If an individual grows up being surrounded by materialistic consumerism, and grows to believe that what they have, rather than who they are, is a reflection of the status of there character as a human being, then this human being is inevitably lost – yet this seems to be more and more the norm.
Self image is a creation of conclusions by the individual about what will make them worthy, and then adapting ones beliefs, behaviors, and desires to assist them in acquiring those attributes or qualities. Those attributes and qualities are then reflected back to us so that we know we are who we think we are. In today’s world, we are misguided into believing that having more, is being more – and it is spiraling out of control.
The problem is, in order to get the things you need in order to be a worthy person; one of the “good people of the world” , you have to work longer and longer hours, and spend your money on more materialistic things in order to be able to work…like fast food, and another car. Then, to put the cherry on top, you know you are valuable, worthy, important and loveable, when you become independent. So, this system of everyone working outside the home, so that we can all buy more “stuff” to make it possible to keep making more money (and then use credit cards for the rest of it) is, in fact, the very system that we have become dependent on for the purpose of independence. This, my friend, is slavery. This is insanity.
Consumerism has taken over the soul of man using tricks such as the illusion of independence. The marketeers have sold a fragile and false sense of self to the masses. The modern self-descriptors that many use in to describe themselves in a positive light have been sold to us by thieves — and we bought it. The idea of “rugged individualism” and other modern self-descriptors used to create a false self identity has resulted in the exploitation of the individual, leaving us vulnerable. Consumerism has brought us far away from identifying ourselves by our character, and the sense of responsibility that we feel toward our loved ones, and from valuing each other’s contributions to a human system. Materialism has separated us from our own understanding of who we are as human beings, our relationship to our God, our homes, and to each other. We have become lost in what we do and have, believing that is who we are. We need to find our way home.
Salvation will come when we realize that we are not the restaurants that we eat in, we are not the cars we drive or the neighborhood we live in. We are not our profession, and we are not the money that we make. We are much, much, more than that. In fact, we are not our body, we are not our mind… we are not our beliefs or thoughts… we are the human being that Allah created, and getting back to that soul is important. Only then can we become aware of our soul’s purpose, and then perhaps, we will be content.