We Are Not Stressed We are Spoilt!

Our lives of always having the newest device, that can get us the stuff we don’t need, at a faster rate than is normal, to make ourselves look better than we actually are, to a group of virtual friends that aren’t real - is a paradoxical existence that has the inevitable consequence of stress and depression. We are the result of years of instant gratification and self-importance, where we idolise ourselves and refuse to have patience for anything that takes longer than a few minutes.  When a child is given everything he wants, whenever he wants, he grows up ungrateful, unfulfilled and with an insatiable craving for more of everything. He tends not to have manners or barriers and his behaviour is offensive to others around him. He is unable to articulate his frustrations and he is written off as being spoilt. 

But adults all around us are over indulging in technology, clothes, food, drink and everything else and self-obsessing through social media beyond what even Narcissus was capable. Although we live in a world full of incredibly valuable pastimes, we have chosen rather to wander aimlessly without a true purpose or direction, dedicating our time instead to frolic with money, success, or fame. What could realistically be expected other than to suffer the symptoms of a spoilt child, namely, unrecognised guilt, frustration, unfulfillment and anxiety - or as we have come to know it - stress.  While it is easy to identify in a child, as adults we are not in the habit of acknowledging bad behaviour traits within ourselves. 

Instant gratification
The birth of the invisible monster that is instant gratification is devouring every one of us. The internet gives us answers at the speed of light. Our emails and messages are sent and received instantaneously. Apps and websites are designed to respond to our every need at the touch of a button. Online stores across the world continue to somehow conjure even shorter delivery deadlines. Customer service providers everywhere are on their knees in submission to the public who have them wrapped around their critical-reviews-on-yelp finger.  We have become so used to this warped and toxic sense of expectation that we have lost all sense of rational patience. Like a spoilt child having a tantrum, we become incensed at the slightest time-induced provocation. Whether we have been put on hold, or perhaps waiting for something to download, maybe in a queue or at a traffic light, or during some other trivial act -  our need for immediacy is so strong that we become internally enraged if things are not happening at the speed we have come to expect.  Needless to say, this is extremely harmful to the mind.

Materialism is when people love stuff too much. Stuff can’t give or receive feelings, but people rely on buying stuff to make them happier.  They are told by the adverts that it makes them prettier, cooler or better than other people - but when they buy the stuff they realise that they are still the same as they were before and that makes them sad again (and poorer from buying all the stuff). People who organise their lives around things like product acquisition are at a much greater risk from psychological problems. They are more likely to have unhappiness in their relationships and suffer from poorer moods. According to Knox College psychologist, Tim Kasser, PhD and author of "The High Price of Materialism", those who were either not treated very nicely by their parents, grew up in unfortunate social situations, experience poverty, or whose parents were undergoing or had undergone divorce or separation, become more materialistic as a way to adapt. Many of us have voids that we need to fill, whether from having a bad upbringing, a life of poverty or riches, having unfulfilling relationships, or just being bored. However, those spaces should be filled with useful, purposeful, intrinsic activities to ensure we can heal from the inside out.

Bad behaviour
A stench of inflated ego and self-importance wafts over our society, crippling our ability to behave as normal people. We have begun to live our lives in technology and social media, hardly living in the real world at all. We measure our worth against the number of virtual friends we have, or the number of times people have ‘liked’, or ‘retweeted’ our comments. It is a common sight to see people with their heads down and fingers tapping away on their device of some sort. The hypocrisy of ignoring the family member in the same room to charmingly chat and engage online is seen far too often. It has become acceptable to continuously interrupt a face-to-face conversation to respond to messages on a phone, or to sit at dinner, but be preoccupied with the device in one’s hands. This obsession with the self creates the same feelings of conceit and insecurity that celebrities have. The need for adoration and praise, and the constant craving for attention and admiration is all part of the depression they suffer. Combine this with people’s general dependencies on these devices and we have a combustible mix. But we refuse to acknowledge it, indifferent to both, our ever-inflating egos and the degradation of basic manners.

They call business a dog-eat-dog world and a rat-race, because of how animalistic one becomes in order to simply exist, let alone survive and succeed.  And when you look objectively at just the morning of our normal day, wouldn’t you agree that we are hardly human at all; angrily pushing past one another; awkwardly responding if someone offers a smile; feeling more superior than one another; paralysed without coffee or stimulants; feeling frustrated if a stranger tries to engage in small talk; barely acknowledging each other’s presence; becoming irate just because someone might be walking slower than us. These are just a handful of examples and that is just on the way to wherever we are going. These are unnatural behaviours that seep into our lives, both in and outside of the workplace and by refusing to acknowledge them in ourselves, the more we nurture them. The negative characteristics develop into habit and it therefore becomes harder to un-train ourselves. We eventually become desensitised to what is right and wrong and accept the lowest standards of human behaviour as the norm. And because of how peculiar it is to behave this way, we can’t help subconscious feelings of guilt, emptiness, and anger. These feelings are fuel for activities, like smoking, drinking, taking drugs, overeating, promiscuity, infidelity and over-indulging as a whole. It is the lack of fulfilment that makes people reach out to quick-fixes to fill the voids in their lives. Strangely, many take pride in hedonistic pleasure-seeking, rather than realising it is the pursuit of a haunted soul.

In conclusion, we need a sense of purpose. We live in a culture that worships frivolity, money and success, rather than a sense of purpose. There is nothing wrong with money and there is nothing wrong with success. The problem comes with trying to attain those things above and beyond an actual purpose for ones actions. All that most of us want is to be admired for our job, our wealth, or our stuff – which is rather sad and empty. We may have been trained by our parents, peers, or the media to think that it is the right way to be, but of course it is not. So, while it may not be our fault, it is certainly still our problem.

When people are living with a true purpose, they have a sense of worth, which makes them feel useful, satisfied and happier. However, most of us go to work, or through our day without a thought for our genuine purpose here in the world and are subconsciously insecure because we know that our job is actually quite pointless. Unfortunately though, instead of recognising that we need a better and truer purpose in life, our insecurities lead us to emotions of denial, arrogance and pride as we try to prove how crucial our jobs and our roles are. Most of us feign importance because of our innate need and desire to live a life of purpose, but the irony is that a person with actual purpose never feels the need to prove it. 

It is our lifestyle, mindset and behaviour that is the real cause for much of the stress that we suffer. The moment you stop to truly look at yourself, is the start towards a much more peaceful and happier state of mind.

For a more light-hearted view on how to combat stress, please read the related article The Happy Mantra


Stuff Mother Taught Us


  1. A very well written blog. It is shocking and somewhat embarassing to think back at how agitated we become when waiting for something..anything.. for example if our computer is running a little slow one day, or if we have to wait 5 minutes for a youtube video to load up! We are so very use to having that immediate access that we no longer have the patience to wait for anything.

    One thing to add may be the way in which celebrities are idolised to the extent where "normal" people want to dress like them, act like them, buy their products, use the same headphones as them etc...just to look "cool" and "fashionable". Once again seeking attention and becoming so materialistic that they no longer know themselves. What ever happened to having your own style rather then copying a trend to fit in?

    This also relates to the recent Daily Mail article about children as young as 4 playing on iPads and tablets and becoming so addicted that they need therapy. They are spending more time talking to people online than in person, and having numerous facebook accounts. The bad behaviour, materialism and the need for instant gratification is starting at such a young age...i dare to think what the world will be like in 10 years time!

    Once again, a very well written article.

  2. Thank you Shamiza, it's always nice to get positive feedback on my pieces.

    I agree with your point about celebrities and what is worse for me is that the title of 'celebrity' seems to be massively misplaced these days. For all the idolisation that occurs around a celebrity, it would be more appropriate if they were inventing or discovering something, or contributing to the betterment of society in some way. It would be easier to understand such adoration if that was the case, but as it is, it’s really strange.

    It is truly frightening to read stories about the addiction from technology and the internet and is another example of the assault to the senses that disturbs us internally. There are numerous studies on how the exposure to various technologies affects the emotional development - particularly of children, but also of adults - but it is not enough to stand in the way of progress (and perhaps it shouldn't). I think it is important for us to be aware of the risks, so as to be able to prevent them, or at least minimise them.

    Oh and you mentioned about what may happen in years to come, well, this somewhat related BBC article might freak you out a little http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22002530

    Thanks again for your comment :)


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