Happiness, Virtues

Money and Happiness: The Confounding Factor, Part II

Extreme ways of thinking often cause us to dig ourselves into a very deep hole.  I’ve done that myself quite a number of times, ending up in some very uncomfortable places.  I do hope that my hole-digging days are over, but then again, just like you, I’m an imperfect human being—so hopefully there are going to be people with ladders around to help me out when it does happen.

I recently had to help a friend of mine out of the hole he had dug himself into.  During a discussion about securing one’s financial future, he threw this golden nugget at me: “Well, it’s not like you have to worry about your financial future, you don’t care about money!”  When I asked him to clarify what he meant, he said that, seeing the topics that I cover on my blog, he saw me as some sort of non-money loving person who seeks enlightenment over all else.

Two things come to mind.

The first is that I love the way he described me as “seeking enlightenment”—it still makes me grin to think of myself as doing that, when all I aim to do is share my reflections in the hopes of generating conversations.  Maybe there is hope that I will, indeed, find enlightenment some day!

On a more serious note, however, the second thing that came to mind is the way that being enlightened necessarily means not having money.  To this I say: can you be enlightened if you are not generous?  And can you not learn generosity if you have money?

Now I am not saying that you have to have money to be generous; but rather, that money, instead of being seen as the devil, can be seen as an opportunity to learn about things like generosity—things that lead to enlightenment.

Similarly, some money does seem to be tied into finding happiness.  When I look at my baby, I can’t imagine being this happy if I wasn’t able to provide the basics: a clean and safe shelter, quality food, clean clothes, and positive social interactions.  And so yes, money is tied to my happiness, in that I have enough to provide my baby with these things.

Back in a blog post uploaded in September 2008, I went searching for the confounding factor that would explain the relationship between money and happiness.  I have a feeling that it might be quite simple.  Money doesn’t equate happiness; but money can contribute to happiness in those who use it, and everything else they have in their lives, to become better people and to contribute to the building of vibrant communities that consistently grow both materially and spiritually.

{ Sahar’s Blog is all about being in a constant state of learning.  So it only made sense for me to go back to all my previous posts and see how my thoughts on certain topics have changed over the last nine years.  In this new, ongoing series of posts, I’ll be rereading some of my older posts and reflecting on the same topic in light of what I’ve learned since then.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how things have changed! }

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6 thoughts on “Money and Happiness: The Confounding Factor, Part II

  1. I agree with him that you are someone who seeks enlightenment – your posts are just that – a beautiful way of uncovering things as your mind works through all these issues.

    I also agree that money and hapoun as must be linked because you do need to be able to meet your needs and live, hopefully above the breadline. Is this Maslow’s heirachy of needs 🙂

    1. Really, Michal? I feel I just share some of the pretty thoughts that I get by interacting with others and getting the credit, to be honest… But thank you <3 I love thinking about these things! #nerdandproud

      I don't remember a lot about Maslow's hierachy of needs, but I do remember that I agreed with the "get the essentials" to be happy part. But then I lived in countries where poverty was crushing, and yet people were happy. They weren't happy about their circumstances, but they laughed and danced and made the most of it. After that, well... 😛

  2. I recently scolded myself for buying something just because it made me happy—it was beautiful, and I still grin every time I look at it. And I felt guilty for buying something for a friend’s child. I thought I should have put that money toward my student loan debt or some charitable cause. But I came to realize that being miserly doesn’t make anyone happy, and there’s balance to everything – including spending money sometimes.

    1. Omg I do that too–scold myself for buying something just because it made me happy! But I agree with you–being miserly isn’t a healthy thing, either, and yes, balance is so important! I’m curious to know what that something was!!!

  3. Money does make us happier in some ways and I agree that providing the basics for our children is an essential part of happiness. There is a charity in Sydney called Find the Dignity and it is about basic hygiene items for women that many can’t afford and helping these woman at that time of the month. I think when we look at those things money certainly helps but I also think it is about balance.

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