Where does your sense of self and peace come from? What brings you comfort? Do you feel good about having the greatest and newest “stuff” of do you just feel good about life in general? Do you try to match what your family and friends have purchased lately or done in their lives in terms of vacations, projects, and changes? Are you constantly trading cars and making home improvements? If you answer yes to these questions, you may be living a life of materialism rather than spiritualism.

Spiritualism involves being in contact with whatever or whoever you call a Higher Power. You know there is something greater than yourself in this world and you have daily contact with it. You are at peace with yourself, able to deal with your emotions, appreciate all that life has to offer, and focus on nature, family, music, beauty, and not needing to own the newest and best. You are comfortable with what you have even though you know that you will need to upgrade cars, computers, and make home repairs as time goes on. You do not look to material possessions to make yourself feel better, whole, or complete.

Materialism focuses on having the newest and best and competes with everyone. It is important to have something first and not be behind others in having things. Materialistic people are also focused on first impressions, so their yard is manicured and landscaped beautifully, their homes are decorated and beautiful with nothing out of place, and they are always dressed impeccably; ready to make that first impression. Their sense of self and pride comes from what they have, where they live, and how they appear. Materialism is always a race to either be first or to keep up, and it never ends.

It’s important to understand who you are and if you are a materialistic person. By looking at what you have and what you hope to gain, you can then ask yourself if you have a sense of peace and happiness. You can also look at the compatibility of your life with the financial resources you currently have. For many, constant competing is not compatible with the resources they have, but they refuse to admit it and continue with the competition, driving them deeper and deeper into debt. This of course, serves to worsen their sense of self and increases their need to compete. “If I had more stuff, maybe I would feel better about myself.” And the cycle continues! Only by honestly looking at your behavior can you stop the financial suicide that you have been engaged in and hope to bring about real change.

Clarity-Finding Tip: Spend some time sitting or walking quietly. A quiet mind will help you find the truth of how you want to live.