Being a minimalist for me means that I don’t buy stuff unless I really need it – not superficial need, but really need.
So, why would I go into the bookstore and get myself one of the popular women’s magazines? The answer is happiness.
In the March edition of the Jolie there is a large special on happiness. My first reaction to seeing this special was like “what do they know about happiness?” I mean, don’t magazines like those even make women actually unhappy by putting them in a place to compare themselves with models? And also those magazines promote consumerism, something that is supposed to make us not very happy from the viewpoint of a minimalist. So, what do they know about happiness? And, considering the nature of the people who usually buy this magazine, women who are into fashion and make-up and stuff like that, what is the approach they are using? Will this be about “buy this pair of jeans and you will be happier”? What can this happiness-special possibly be about?
I decided to save you the 1,50 Euro and write about this in here 🙂
The first part is about an inquiry they did on their website, where they asked their readers about the personal experience: “What makes you happy?”
The answers were like: “Go swimming in a lake/Take a bubble bath” or “Make an important decision/Being independent” and generally “Being with my loved ones (including pets)”. Then there is a small section about the question “Can you learn to obtain happiness?” where they did an interview with an “expert” on happiness. On the question “What makes us happy in general” he answers that the balance between two extremes will probably be the place where you have to look for happiness. Also, being successful is a very important part of achieving happiness. An interesting thing is his answer to the follow-up question on this. While being successful is very important it totally depends on our definition of success. Having a job and being good at is can make you happy, having a family and caring for them can make you happy, there are so many ways and it’s totally depending on your own definition of happiness! Then he concludes that happiness is not something that just happens to us, we have to actively obtain it. Also we should learn to deal with the unhappy moments too.
What’s interesting about this part is that all the answers to what makes you happy had nothing to do at all with either clothes or makeup or expensive travel or all of the other stuff that is promoted in this magazine. Really, this part has like nothing to do with the rest of the magazine which is kind of crazy if you think about it. While I totally agree that the things mentioned in there have the ability to make you happy, I’m very suprised that those things are mentioned.
But, here’s my question: When people know what makes them happy, why do they still get a magazine like this? When people already know that being with their loved ones makes them happy, why is there the need for the stuff that is promoted by this magazine, which is practically the opposite to the things that make us happy?
Nobody in the artikle was mentioned who said “Shopping makes me happy” or “Shoes make me happy”. I totally anticipated an answer like that, but I couldn’t find one. So how does this make sense? Shouldn’t people act accordingly to what makes them happy? Shouldn’t they throw away the magazine, stop shopping and spend more time with what actually makes them happy? And why don’t they just do that?
What do you think?