Okay, granted, as a Buddhist technically I don’t believe you should need much of anything. That being said, we live in a world where you need to be clothed to be in public, food to keep you functioning, shelter to keep you from freezing to death, etc. etc. Cell phones, computers, cars – these things make life easier, and for many occupations are relatively “necessary”. I am not wholly anti-thing, here. But, there are people that realize this fact of life and see these things as almost necessary evils – means to an end. And there are many others that think that these things, or at least the amount of money you spend on them, are ends in and of themselves.
Wanting to have nice things for the sake of having nice things and showing other people you do is more than a little absurd to me. Take “fashion” for example (distinguishable from style). Sure, you can spend $1000 on a dress you might wear once. What does that actually do for you? “But I LOVE it!” Okay, let me break this down for you: It is a piece of fabric. I don’t care what color it is, or how it suits your body type, you literally do not have to have it, you do not need to spend an inordinate amount of money on something you wear. “What about a handbag, you get so much use out of that,” people object. Okay, and a designer handbag is supposed to show the world what, you have great taste and also disposable income? I know people that crazy amounts of money on things and demonstrate zero style and/or good taste. You can usually get the same exact thing, at least when it comes to clothes and accessories, for a fraction of the price… if you can move past the simple desire to get something because other people have or want that thing, or because “it’s expensive so it must be great quality.”
So I ask, what about your quality? If you actually have the inner thought “Oh, but then people won’t recognize the label!” then you’re assuming you want to be hanging out with people that only care about labels and spending too much money on things, and hey, if that’s what you wanna do, go right ahead! But, if you ask me, people that hide behind designer things still have to do just as much work to show they are as good of person as anyone else. And I guess that’s the real problem I have here.
I don’t care what you are wearing you are not off the hook from having to be a good human being. Instead of investing so much meaning into looking like you come from a certain social status, how about you invest meaning into being a genuinely fantastic person. I’m not saying the two are mutually exclusive. I’m just saying I truly hope you take a serious look at yourself and where your priorities are. Because I’ve noticed that there is a certain breed of individuals that thinks that having nice things is the be-and-end-all, and it can lead to serious disaffection towards our fellow human beings.
The whole “have some perspective, somewhere in the world a child dies every second because they don’t have clean water,” seems too obvious of an argument, and frankly does not make the slightest impact on people that insist on spending $70.00 on foundation from Sephora when you can get it for $7.00 at CVS. This won’t change that. But hey, maybe, if you can, try to realize that having a compassionate and kind heart, genuinely making an effort to help other people, and not caring if people judge you without actually knowing you, will take you a lot farther in life than having “nice things.” Likewise, if you are one of those who dismiss people based on “whether they have nice things or not,” this message equally applies to you.
Money cannot and never will buy you true class. If you can demonstrate poise, intellect, and genuine compassion in a conversation it says miles more about you than simply wielding your designer things as a shield to show how successful or entitled you are. You cannot put a price tag on being a high-quality person. It is invaluable. It is, in my eyes, the most reputable and desirable thing any human being could strive for. So please, stop talking about all the things you have and want and how cool it makes you, because it doesn’t. It doesn’t tell me anything about you, except that that’s what you consider “valuable” in life. That’s what you think is really “worth” something in your world. Instead, show the world you are more than just a label or a piece of “high-quality fabric.” Show the world you are more important than just things.