updated from 2007. 

Researchers have found that low self-esteem and materialism are not just a correlation, but also a causal relationship where low self esteem increases materialism, and materialism can also create low self-esteem. The also found that as self esteem increases, materialism decreases. The study primarily focused on how this relationship affects children and adolescents. Lan Nguyen Chaplin (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Deborah Roedder John (University of Minnesota) found that even a simple gesture to raise self-esteem dramatically decreased materialism, which provides a way to cope with insecurity.

“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,” they write in the study, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.

read more here 

This is no surprise to astrologers, who place self-esteem and material needs in the second house of the birthchart. The second house, associated with Taurus, deals with our material needs and our desire for wealth and financial security, but also with our values and our sense of self-esteem, our talents and skills and how we feel about them. Clients with a challenged second house often find that their ability to achieve financial security is tied closely with their self-esteem.

The article goes on to say:

In the book “Happiness: Lessons From a New Science”, Richard Layard exposes a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most of us want more income so we can consume more. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. In fact, the First World has more depression, more alcoholism and more crime than fifty years ago. This paradox is true of Britain, the United States, continental Europe and Japan.

I encounter this when I work with people in increasing abundance and opportunity in their lives through Visioncrafting. Many of my clients have achieved wealth and material success but they are not satisfied by it. When consumption becomes a goal in itself rather than a means to achieve a level of security it exceeds the capacity of the second house to improve our contentment, and we fall into the Taurus shadow realm of greed and attachment.  It’s interesting to have statistical confirmation of this as well.

Since I wrote this original post, Pluto entered Capricorn (structures, success, materialism) and basically trashed the structures of materialism that had accumulated with Pluto in expansive Sagittarius. The idea of minimalism started to creep in and replace the excesses of the Sagittarian time.  During this period we have had to renegotiate the concept of wealth and success (Capricornian themes), but the premise of this article still stands.  When our sense of self worth is healthy and solid, we don’t need to keep cramming our lives with material things that bring only temporal pleasure.

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