Materialistic People Have Low Self-Esteem.


It’s not every day that one of my strongly held beliefs is proven right by science . . . actually, that’s not true. Just yesterday, science explained why curvaceous, voluptuous women are so hot. I never knew why this was but now, science has cleared up that little conundrum for me. Yay science! Now I can move on with my life.

But I digress.

Apparently, researchers have also discovered a link between materialism and self-esteem. That’s right. People who have low self-esteem tend to buy more stuff or, if they’re kids, want more stuff. These researchers studied a bunch of kids and discovered that as their self-esteem declines—usually around the start of adolescence—kids become more materialistic.

By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth.”

You can read the whole article here.

Eureka! As kids’ self-consciousness and insecurity increases, they become more interested in acquiring material things to help them feel better about themselves. This must explain why so many people are so desperate to have the newest pair of shoes or the trendiest mp3 player or the latest video game system? Personally, I’ve always been suspicious of anyone who always had to have the latest, greatest something or other. But you know, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In about 10 years, these kids will be old enough to no longer need to use material possessions to cope with feelings of low self-worth. Trust me, I speak from experience. I too used to rely on material things—clothes, shoes, cars, my gym membership—to make up for my insecurity. But not anymore. Not since I discovered alcohol. Or “liquid confidence,” as I like to call it.

Speaking of confidence, you know what? Life is SO unfair. Just think about all those kids who don’t need to wear the coolest clothes or have the latest iPod or cell phone. When I think about how these kids are mocked and jeered and taunted in school, it just makes my blood boil! After all, these are the confident kids, the ones who don’t need flashy things to compensate for their insecurities. THEY should be the cool and popular kids, NOT the ones with the latest and trendiest stuff. What kind of society do we live in? To all you nerds who might be reading this blog, next time some cool kid comes along and tries to show off how cool he/she is because he/she just got the new iPod mini or the latest Nikes, here’s what you should do. Tell them that you don’t need any fancy schmancy gadget or expensive footwear to make you feel good about yourself because you’re totally cool and awesome inside, and you know it. You can also tell them they’re adopted and that their parents don’t really love them. That’ll show ’em!

But who cares anyway? I’m just happy that once again, science has vindicated me. For years, I’ve been saying that people who constantly need to buy new stuff are overcompensating for some deep-seated sense of inadequacy. And for years, I was ignored, mocked, or worse. I’ve also been saying lots of other stuff too, but no-one ever listens to me. Thank God for science though. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of my “conspiracy theories” and “crazy ideas” are proven to be true. Soon, we’ll see who’s crazy and who’s just plain stupid. That’s right, guy who sat next to me on the flight to California! You heard me! WHO’S CRAZY NOW??!!

While we’re at it, here are a some of my other “theories” for the scientific community to consider:

  1. The loudness of a motorcycle’s engine is inversely proportional to the size of the motorcyclist’s penis.
  2. Lobbyists are assholes.
  3. There is an inverse relationship between a shopper’s IQ and the amount of money he/she spends on designer shoes.
  4. Guys who drive expensive sports cars are soul-less (also, see point #2).

To the scientific community, I want to say, “There’s no need to thank me for these ideas.” Contributing to the advancement of science is all the thanks I need. And perhaps a motorcycle with a REALLY loud engine.

All in all, though, I have to say that going to the mall will never be the same again. I mean, who wants to spend that much time around a bunch of pathetic, insecure people?

Thanks to a certain someone who shall remain unnamed for passing this story on to me.


17 thoughts on “Materialistic People Have Low Self-Esteem.

  1. Get real people! the person who wrote this article sounds nerdy yourself! im no cool kid but i do mah own thingg and for your information i like flashy things as well, so your practically saying that people in general do not and are not suppose to like nice stuff.Now donot get me wrong, your article is true to SOME EXTENT, BUT you just seem hurt and looking an excuse for it, some form of comfort,and then you said;”But you know, there is light at the end of the tunnel”, SERIOULY? I am i girk and i like nice stuff, pretty stuff, donot generalised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


  2. hi all, to the OP i just wanted to let you know that i too once had “low self esteem” and it really hurt me alot however now after really “working on myself” i feel normal- one thing please never compare yourself to others and you’ll be allright!


  3. Great insight. I’ve believed for some time there was a corelation between low self worth and consumerism. I’m glad to see I’m not alone. Now that I think more about it, I’d say much of the world suffers from low self worth which (unlike swine flu) is at pandemic level as evidenced by our current global financial crisis.


  4. Hello,
    I’ve had my suspicions about this ‘ new consumerism’ since a long time. I find it very pityfull that hardly anyone is aware of the evil corporates that are luring children into consumeristic behaviour. By tapping into their childish desires with their flashy and colourful commercials they make sure that children start to want material and nag their parents to buy it. In this case, the parents aren’t really the consumers, the children are!
    And the children grow up, in a society where money means everything, working is a new lifestyle and you have to work hard, you have to be punctual, you have to be committed, you have to you have to you have to, where comes the living if all that IS your life?
    We’re all just machines in this society, we’re programmed to shut up, work, make money and yes: SPEND!
    That’s what we’re for, leave the intellect and intelligence to the real leaders, who are invisible to us. I don;t think I’ve answered your question, I’m sorry, I just had to let myself go a little bit in this.
    It’s all such a pity, most people don’t work to live anymore, the just live to work and the general opinion tells us that that is just fine and even good (work hard, people will have respect for you) whereas I can truly see through this big BS and say, hey, wait a minute, we are the NEW PROLETARIAT! but in a kapitalsit system, haha isnt that IRONIC??!


  5. i think that another thing that figures into the self-esteem/materialism equation is a lack of imagination. i haven’t given this much thought before, but here’s what i am thinking having read all this:

    children in the US are growing up in a culture of consumerism where from birth (essentially) they are bombarded with images of things they are supposed to want. many kids are able to acquire by a very young age a spectacular amount of colourfull, jingling, rotating, jumping, noise-making, interactive, musical thingamabobs to play with. when separated from those things that they grow so accustomed to for entertainment, or when they simply grow tired of them, the kids become bored and yearn for something new to diminish that boredom. and so they buy and buy and learn at an early age that this consumerist lifestyle is the way to deal with problems.

    so what do kids do in other countries (not all other countries certainly, but many)or even poor kids in the US? they make things out of sticks and rocks, a bicycle tire can provide endless entertainment when a kid masters the art of making it roll along with the help of a tree branch, they build matchstick houses, they create detective mysteries from garbage found in the street, they take rubber-bands out of underwear and make a jumping game with their friends… i can go on and on. all these activities have one thing in common – the provide fulfillment and entertainment through the use of the imagination and with minimal resources. imagination is trained and developed from an early age, which is when it should be developed because this is when children have it naturally in abundance. later on, this ability to imagine and implement your own satisfaction and even happiness is in your hands.

    so when a child or adolescent finds themselves in a situation when they are not happy with something, what will be the difference between the child who learned to use his/her imagination and the child who got the newest toy that was pre-imagined by someone else? i think that at some point this inability to use the imagination can lead to lowered self-esteem (boredom can lead to depression, which is manifested in low self perception) and to fix it the person turns to buying and buying…

    i don’t want it to seem like i am saying that children should have no toys. on the contrary, certain toys help children develop. but i do think that certain behaviours are instilled from the very beginning and parents have a choice about what kind of toys they allow their kids to have and about how many toys and how ofter they buy.

    i’d love to hear some thoughts on this because, as i said, this just occurred to me and i could be off base 🙂


  6. Samantha,

    Those Gucci shoes are fly! You’re fly if you own a pair like that. 🙂

    The post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I do believe that consumerism is out of control in our society. I also think materialism in children is an unhealthy sign of low self-esteem.

    Not sure how it works for adults, though. I like nice stuff as much as the next person. 🙂


  7. hardknocklife,

    I’m with you on this one. I don’t really think any of this stuff needs to be proven by science.

    As for volunteering, helping others and just being a decent person, I again second your points. As our society becomes more individualized and thus more materialistic, the bonds of love, compassion, and altruism that were supposed to hold us together—that have traditionally held communities together—are being frayed and, in some cases, severed. They have now been replaced with glitzy corporate advertising and even glitzier products which hold the promise to fulfill our needs to belong to a larger human community.

    Just look at Apple’s iPod, quite possibly the slickest—and most slickly marketed—mp3 player on the market. The white earphones are more than just a means of delivering music to listeners’ ears. They serve to identify iPod owners, a badge of sorts that shows membership to a larger community of iPodders. But this community is not based on any of the traditional foundations of community. Rather, membership to this particular community can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars.

    In short, the product is no longer just a commodity. It’s acquired social meaning as well. And this holds true for pretty much everything that we value in our society. Even such basic necessities as food (Starbucks, celebrity chefs, celebrity cookbooks) and education (college and university brand names) are being corporatized and branded.

    What next? Designer love and designer partners?


  8. Scooter,

    You and me both. You couldn’t even get all the Adidas gear in Sierra Leone back when Run DMC first started rocking it, but you bet I would have given my left arm for even just the trainers. 🙂


  9. If I can add a couple of drops of obvious. It’s actually not that uncommon to be a little self conscious. Actually, I don’t believe anyone to have absolutely no self-esteem issues.

    But if you really want to fill that void. Really doing good for others — volunteering, donating, just being there for someone in need — could actually prove to be far more fulfilling.

    The genuine praise from others that you get after doing a selfless act, will have a deeper impact on you than if the praise was given on the shiny factor of them 24’s.

    Anyways, I thought all this B.S. was common knowledge. Scientists have to prove this crap now? For whom?


  10. So what your telling me is that when I begged, pleaded and promised straight A’s for those black and white shell top Adidas(with the fat laces)with the matching sweatsuit (three stripes)and Gazeles(sunglasses) that I was really crying out for help because my self esteem was at an all time low? Damn! I thought it was because Run DMC rocked them and I thought they were the coolest ever? Did I even have self esteem at the age of 12?


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