Singles Day and the Pursuit of Happiness

Published on by Nika Zobec

These past few days we have been flooded with advertisements of 11.11 discounts and commercials from different stores, whether online or offline. All those ads seem to have one thing in common – they suggest that buying their stuff will make you happier.

But is it true? Can happiness be bought?

Green Initiatives’ ongoing campaign, #IAmEnough, was launched to look deeper into this question. We made a video interviewing people how they’re going to spend their 11.11, and how they feel about this Singles Day hype.

Indeed. Happiness is a term that is very hard to define.

Some would say that it is the experience of joy, a state of well-being, or a feeling of contentment. But if there is no agreed-upon definition, how can we identify it when we are happy?

Here is one idea: “Everything we do in life is a way to feel a little more loved.” Whether it be the state of well-being, a sense of belonging, the feeling we have when other people see us as successful, this all comes from a longing for validation and love.

When we buy makeup and clothes, we want to become more attractive in order to feel accepted, seen, and loved. When we buy fancy stuff to decorate our house, we want to feel more validated and be the person we want others to see us as. The root of all these actions is wanting to feel loved.

That being said, the source of happiness is not really the things themselves. It is something that comes from within ourselves. The reason why all this material stuff means so much to us now is because of the meaning that we think it contains. But if we look at it more closely, happiness is actually a state of mind, a being, a feeling, an experience shared with loved ones.

What does happiness have to do with consumption?

In our modern society that lives on commercialism, we are oftentimes tricked that life is better when we buy these things. Companies often manage to lower our self-esteem and diminish our self worth to the point where we are trapped, and the only way out is by buying stuff.

In fact, companies create shopping festivals like 11.11 that feature “huge discounts” to make us buy more. People forget that nothing is free in this world. Brands are certainly not giving bargains out of goodness, and more often than not, it is the environment, the workers, and the consumers who pay the real price of discounts.


Let’s be aware of our actions, be conscious, and help others be so

The truth is, we are already enough. YOU are enough. You are doing the best you can with what you already have.

Why do we over-complicate things? Why do we spend our time making money to buy things that we think can help us feel great when in reality, there are so many other things that can help us feel so?

How can you participate in #IAmEnough?

Supporting and taking part in this campaign is very simple!  You just have to do one or all of the actions below:

  • Post the images and stickers from this post on your Wechat moments / other social media channels.
  • Take the ‘pledge’ by clicking our campaign pledge link: or by scanning the QR code below:

  • Spread the message by sharing this or any other campaign articles with people you care about.
  • Post your positive actions on your social media: What did you do on 11.11? Did you help someone? Did you take someone for a meal? Did you donate money to a cause? What does happiness mean to you?

This campaign was possible through the hard work and support of GI friends and volunteers. Special thanks to Alicia Tsao, Daphne Tai, Xiaofang Suskita, Hui Wang, Adele Foucart, Karen Saenz, Manon Van Damme and Clotilde Pallier.