People who have money, tell us it won’t make us happy. People who don’t have it, desire it more than anything, certain that it will. So which is it? We are a society that worships money, we can’t get enough of it and are seduced everyday into believing that buying the latest this or having the latest that, will make us happy. Whether it’s a dream holiday or a great car, the latest gadget or a pair of shoes, these things are very nice, but do they make us happy?
If we’re already happy, a new house, a handbag, or even winning the lottery is a wonderful experience that can enrich our lives, but if we’re not already happy, isn’t it just more stuff? Stuff to provide temporary gratification that may gloss over feelings of discontent?
Blighted by a disease called, ‘wanting more,’ we are born wanting more. We’re then conditioned by society to want more and are incapable of deciding when we have enough. We want more money, more happiness, more love, my laugher, more sex, more success and even more drama. We project our life into the future and wait for the next big deal, the next event, the next date or the next holiday, certain we’ll grab a bit of happiness from it, something to fill the gap or make life easier, but here’s the thing.
Having experienced both sides of the coin, (pun intended) sometimes flying first class all over the world and other times barely having enough money to buy groceries, I’ve come to realise that happiness has nothing to do with money. Happiness is a place where money simply does not exist, a choice we make depending on who we are, the relationships we have and how we view the world, not on how much money we have in the bank.
Money can’t make us happy. – It can make make us feel good, temporarily. – It can ease struggle and give us freedom, temporarily. Money gives us options and makes life a bit more comfortable, but it does not make us happy.
Take a look at the super rich, many of them are miserable or ask any of the most successful people on the planet, most will tell you that money hasn’t brought them happiness, it’s usually their sense of fulfilment and peace of mind that is responsible for that, but let’s face it, nobody wants to be poor. Poverty entails fear and stress, it can cause depression, hardship and sometimes even humiliation.
Growing up in working class Dublin, I was allowed a first hand account of how hard life can be without money. I longed for money, certain it would make me feel complete and when I finally got it and realised it did no such thing, I was gobsmacked.
Now that I have money, where’s my happiness?
I still felt miserable, more comfortable and wearing Jimmy Choo’s in my misery, but miserable nonetheless. I didn’t know at the time, that buying things offered me a temporary euphoria that when wore off, would leave me wanting more. I was always chasing the next high and if someone offered me five million pounds, I’d convinced myself I needed ten to be happy.
As lack is a state of mind, so too is abundance and to change my life, I had to change my thinking. A horribly ironic paradox; when we make peace with money and seek fulfilment from our life, rather than chasing after wealth, happiness is the result.
We raise the standard of our life, instead of the standard of our living. We choose serenity instead of acquisitions, we appreciate what we have, instead of always wanting more. The happiness we all seek so badly, lives within us. It comes from feeling joy at being alive, it comes from the people who love us, our family and friends and it comes from being grateful for the amazing blessings already in place.
Wayne Dyer said, ‘there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way’.
If gratitude is the antidote to anxiety, then appreciation is the antidote to wanting more. Focus on the quality of your life, rather than how it looks to others. Focus on inner peace, kindness and grace, rather than worry, lack and scarcity and watch the transformation begin.
I’m not dissing money and I’m definitely not dissing wanting more. Money is a wonderful commodity and I’ll love Jimmy Choo until the day I die. Wanting more drives me on a daily basis, but I’m not looking for more to be happy. Being healthy is happiness. Having peace of mind is happiness. Living my truth and loving myself is happiness. Giving to my children is happiness and sharing my life with friends and family is happiness.
My biggest regret will alway be, not appreciating what I had in the past, but because of that, I learned to shift my attitude towards money. I learned to release the fear and anxiety I associated with having no money and discovered a peaceful serenity in it’s place. I still desire money, but I’m not driven by it anymore. I’m driven by my sense of purpose, my sense of fulfilment and my desire to achieve my dreams.
Finally understanding this…is happiness