Friday, February 1, 2013

Happiness and Money

Money can't buy happiness.  Or can it?  As I took on the not so fun task of going over our budget, bills and wading through paperwork this week it's something I have been seriously pondering.

While there is a part of me that believes money cannot buy true happiness, that it's something that has to come from within.  There is yet another part of me that thinks maybe money can buy happiness at least to a certain extent.

Let's face it without money we can't really do anything.

Money allows us to pay the bills, buy food especially healthy food which seems to cost more, afford a car and put gas in it,  own a home or place to live, keeps us warm or cool depending on season, allows us to be clean, helps us make our dreams come true, allows us to travel and take vacations, it clothes us, pays medical bills and insurance, makes having pets and children possible, allows us to do fun things and the list is long.

How many of us would be truly happy if we didn't have many of the essentials mentioned above?  Maybe we don't need the extras but we sure do need the essentials for at least some kind of happiness.

For some reason the reality of this coupled with the reality that bills, budgets and paperwork brings produces such a trepidation of sorts.  The weight of worrying about money can feel overwhelming.  It can even block that true happiness that one feels, the happiness that doesn't rely on money. 

This may sound superficial but this week I seemed to keep dwelling on the fact that I don't make a six figure salary and felt rather envious of those who do.  Probably because I deep down I really want to own our own home, yet the dream feels still a ways off.   And because honestly I desire to simply spend money without worrying about where every penny is going or will there be enough.  Seriously prices for everything have risen so high sometimes I feel the only way to truly be financially comfortable is to be one of those people who makes an enormous salary.

And maybe that's what money does....maybe it doesn't make one happy but instead makes one comfortable?  True happiness for the most part cannot be bought.  It can bring temporary happiness but maybe not so much lasting.  Happiness depends on what we think.  It dwells in the mind and soul not on what one is or has.  True happiness is more about internal qualities than external stuff.  It is not about surface things nor what we do or have but about who we are. 

Those are the things I need to keep in mind when working on the finances. Money may bring comfort but not always happiness.  It's important to focus on not what we don't have but what we do have. To try to put things in perspective and focus on what really matters.  So maybe there is more truth, then not, to the whole idea that money can't buy happiness.

The Dalai Lama once said "I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in their selfish pursuit of their happiness of satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance,selfishness and greed." 


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