Sunday, 4 September 2011

Can You Be Happy Without Money?

Can You Be Happy Without Money?

Can we, as humans in the West, be happy without money?

"Can I be happy without all the 'stuff'?"

It's fairly easy to moan and complain about a lack of money but sometimes money is what money is. We either have it or we don't. We may have a lot, none or some. Many people in the world are addicted to affluence, it is hard to get out of that trap. We are surrounded by materialism, the advertising on television, our friends parading the newest clothes, new car, house, holiday snaps all seemingly parading it in front of our rather envious noses.  Even those that on the surface appear to have it all cannot stop consuming they are addicted. Addicted to what they feel money can buy them - happiness! Or so they are led to believe.

I was brainwashed from an early age by the competitive nature of materialism. Even in the playground people with the new boots, shoes, bags... If you didn't have the new tassle boots (this was a fashion statement at one time) or the Dr Martens, you were out of the loop. Many of us valued ourselves from an early age through comparison with what other people had. And as we grew older the comparisons continued and they just got bigger.

Instead of comparing bags and boots it became houses and cars, mobile phones and TVs.  Does money buy you happiness? Some say it does.  Yet how many wealthy people do you see who are genuinely happy? They may appear to on the surface but are they truly happy? 

Many financially rich people are also as insecure as those that may be financially limited at this time, but their poverty is on the inside not the outside.

I feel money adds to already happy people. If you cannot feel happy when you are poor how can you feel happy when you are rich? All the stuff in the world does not buy family, friendship or love. Yet we don't seem to place these things into our value judgements of who we are.

This comparison culture is such a killer of self-confidence and esteem. I know I am still on the journey to releasing this in myself. Those that we may think have it all may also be comparing with others.  Those with plenty of money, social status, career etc. etc.. may suffer loneliness.  Those with a great social life may be frightened to be on their own for longer than a day. We all have feelings and we all have our own basis for measuring our worth.

What is your basis for worth?

I often think that if I lived on a desert island with only a good friend or two the suffering may be less.  Fewer people to compare my life with.  I remember when I gave a damn when I was single in the past I would get very annoyed when distant relatives at  weddings or funerals would say "Kelly, so when are you getting married?" with a snigger. It used to infuriate me like I was 'less than' because I was not married in my twenties. Well I am in my thirties now and still not married and that side of life does not bother me whatsoever in the comparison stakes.

Now money. The process of loving self, of accepting self, is a journey I am taking right now.  Creating new pathways in my mind, in my thinking process, so I am able to accept where I am, who I am and the direction I am choosing in life.  One of the main things I am moving through is my feelings about money.  Money seems such a big status thing in life.  Of course money is needed to eat, have a roof over our heads and all the basic necessities of life but can we be happy living simply? Can I be happy living simply? I am on the path to find this out.

What Can Money Not Buy?

Love - family - friendship - nature - beauty - sunshine - raindrops - health - relationships - imagination - creativity....

What would you add to this list?

My entire identity (or who I thought I was) is crumbling right now.  And I keep coming back to,

If I had all the money in the world would I be happy?

This is not saying I wouldn't like more money but why do I want more right now?

Is it because I am too scared to be happy - right now? As I am?

The belief that money is what we want needs to be questioned. 

Do we want money or security? Money or inner peace? 

What will money give us that we think it has the power to give?

So could you be happy without money ? (aside from basic necessities) And if not, why not?



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