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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Money makes the world go around. Money can take you places that you could never imagine. Growing up in my household I was considered a spoiled brat. My mother gave my siblings and me anything our hearts desired. My cousins always wanted to come over to our house because we had any toy you could think of. But as I got older I realized that material things did not make me happy. That’s why I believe money cannot buy you happiness. (Photo: Nanette Thomas)

People go through life being able to buy anything their heart desires. Take for example rich movie stars that resort to drugs because they are not happy after they are able to obtain anything they want financially.

In 1998 a man by the name of Solomon Berewa was the Attorney General of Sierra Leone.  Upon his return to Sierra Leone from Guinea he instituted a mass arrest.  He will tell relatives and friends of the people that they were going to arrest, if you do not want your relative to go to Pademba Road Prisons you need to bring some money to me and I will make sure your relative is not arrested.  I am one of those people that he demanded Le 10 million from.  Even though I gave him the money he still pursued me until I escaped from Sierra Leone.  He collected millions of Leones from the rich and the poor.  He collected Le 10 million and $5,000 from another friend of mine. The children of this friend told me how they worked like a Trojan horse to get the $5,000.  After the money was given to him he made sure that he arrested the man and kept him in prison for three years.  Is he a happy man despite all the money he collected from people?  The twenty-four officers killed, their relatives gave him millions of Leones.  Still he killed them.  Can money buy happiness?  NO!  I have taken time to illustrate that you can have all the money in the world, but you can be very unhappy and bitter.     

Money is just a temporary state of happiness, eventually the material items will depreciate and become meaningless. Happiness comes within and cannot be purchased, people go through life wishing of all the material things they can have but once they receive them they discover that material possessions don’t make them happy. In every household we are taught that you have to have certain material possessions in order to consider yourself successful to be happy, but the older and mature you become you see and understand for yourself that happiness is within.

I was watching television one night and I saw a family on a talk show that was fighting over an inheritance. It was sad to see because they went to the extreme by turning their backs on one another for the sake of money which in their minds was happiness. Money can make you do deviant things; it can turn loved ones against each other and not care for anything else but the false happiness which is money. By rules of economy, we get money for an exchange of the work we do or services we give. In return, money gives us the possibility to get things, or do things. These things may bring pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. Therefore, we can purchase opportunities and material things that bring about pleasurable experiences, but happiness is something more than this.

What is happiness and all that it brings? Happiness is both a state of mind and a way of life. Some would call it a spiritual journey; others may refer to it as a balance of nature. I have even heard someone say that happiness comes when you find yourself. These are all things that money cannot purchase. I have heard of many people being accused of buying their way into heaven. We can usually tell when someone is happy or unhappy. Happy people are good to be around and bring a sense of security and benefit to the relationship. These are the best things in life, and they cannot be purchased with money.

So you can see many people try to find happiness through pleasurable things, and because you can trade for these pleasurable experiences through various means, people think that they can purchase happiness. The possibilities that come through wealth may bring pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. Happiness is a journey that includes both a state of mind and a way.

Happiness from money is very short lived. While the happiness of people who receive large sums of money might rise immediately after they receive that money, that happiness declines to only slightly above or equal to their level of happiness before the money came to them.  One problem that leads our society to not be happy is our ability to adapt. No matter how wealthy a person can become, that person always adapts to that lifestyle. That affluent life style becomes the status quo for that person and they are unhappy because they see themselves as being able to be of a higher social status. We are also always comparing ourselves to others. The proverbial expression “keeping up with the Joneses” proves this. This short statement summarizes how people are always comparing themselves to others and trying to be better than them.

Can money buy happiness? No, money is a material asset. In today’s world many of us revolve our lives around money, but does it really make us happy? We are contented when we go out buying, not only essentials, but also the latest cars, fashions, new technology, furniture, going on expensive holidays etc. Having all these congenial material items will make us happy but it is artificial happiness. True happiness lies within our spirit, to be happy not with material items, but with ourselves, our family, and the gifts God has given us.

 Money does not, will not, and should not ever equal happiness. Happiness should stem from the very simplest things in life: our families, the world around us, even getting mail! Life should be lived passionately; spent living, but not living for money. Be picky close your eyes and point; but make sure your choices make you happy. If you execute what makes you happy, you’ll be the richest person in the world.

Money is a source of short-term happiness and only gives us pleasure; it does not give us happiness or joy. Wealth is a material asset that gives us synthetic blissfulness, which will eventually fade away. Money cannot buy true happiness, it buys artificial happiness. People who value money, beauty and popularity more so than they value intimacy, growth and community contribution are a lot less mentally healthy and a lot unhappy.

We all suffer the consequences of our choices, so make sure they are the right choices and we shall then devour the beneficial outcome. We must all look for genuine happiness money is unable to buy. Money does not, will not, and should not ever equal happiness. Money can’t buy happiness!  I hope Solo B has learnt a lesson.

Nanette Thomas, APC Dallas President

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