My first response to the question money or happiness, was initially happiness. If I had to choose I would choose happiness over money every time. At the same time, I believe we are completely wrong educated about money, in pretty much every way possible. For some reason money has kind of a bad image and yet it is fascinating to people. Our world functions largely through money, let’s not fool ourselves. Money can’t buy happiness though, another thing we shouldn’t fool ourselves. I know many people who have more money than they could possibly spend. Some of them worked hard to build their own businesses, while others stepped into their family’s businesses and are still hard working to keep things as they are and then there are also some who don’t have to do that much to keep up their lifestyle and financial wealth. But I also know a lot of people who really struggled or still struggle with money. In both parties are people who are beyond happy and people who couldn’t be unhappier. Money can make things possible, we wouldn’t otherwise have any access to without it, yes. Through money, we can get things that bring us joy, for some time at least. But things are not the key to happiness, nor are other people or relationships or anything outside of ourselves. Happiness is a way of life. It is a decision we make. We can create a happy life in every moment of life. Also, when things are horrible, there is always something to be grateful for and to be happy about. Happiness is an emotion, it happens within. It already is within each and every one of us, and we can create this feeling if we want to, if we decide to.
I don’t believe happiness and money correlate in any way. But sometimes we can only understand this, when we experience it ourselves – like so many things. You remember the thing your parents told you not to do because you would hurt yourself. But of course you had to try and of course you hurt yourself. But this was necessary for you to really understand and learn it. Maybe some people first need to have all the money they ever wanted, in order to find out that this is not what makes them happy. The first joy and fulfillment will fade after some time. And then we start to search for something more, we were looking for something different from the very beginning on, we just didn’t know. Sometimes people think it was just not enough money, so they work on more money. Sometimes they search for a new topic such as relationships with others or building a family or something else that they believe will give them fulfillment. I have met people who became more than successful in their career and also in their private life. They seemingly have it all: money, power, success, family, the perfect partner, the kids, the dogs, the cars, the friends – and yet they are not happy. Many successful people even have severe mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and the like. Because whatever they do, it just never feels enough. They are still trying to find fulfillment. But they don’t know what they need to do, in order to feel fulfilled once for all.
When we can’t find happiness through everything we can achieve in our outside world, we need to start looking inside.
Every life journey is different for each and every one of us. Maybe, sometimes we need to chase all the things we ever wanted, achieve everything we ever wanted to achieve, do all the things we ever wanted to do, become successful in the way we define success – simply in order to find out that we still lack happiness.
So, what about the initial question money or happiness? Both!
Finding out that even though we achieved it all, we are not happy is simply the beginning of another journey. This is where many people’s personal development and reflection work starts.
When the things we believed in, turn out to not be what we thought they were, we are confused, it can even be terrifying. Part of our world, the way we saw the world, collapses. This can be hard! But sometimes we need to fall, in order to find the treasure from the perspective down there. Suddenly we start opening our minds again. We start looking at different directions. We question everything, really everything. Because what if there is more that is not the way we thought it would be? When we thought that having X amount of money or getting this one job, fails our expectations, what else will?
This questioning, this search, and sometimes loosing ourselves or what we thought we were, is what will finally bring us to what we have been searching for all the time – happiness.
These times are times where people change a lot. Other people watching them from the outside might think they go crazy (at least that were the reactions I got back then, haha). They start doing things they once said were ridiculous. They start wearing different clothing. They get a new haircut. They travel all over. They change their workout routine or start one, even though they never exercised before. While this may seem crazy to people from the outside, it is simply a process of transformation in the inside of the person they are watching. A normal process, no matter how confusing it might seem like from the outside. It is like a puzzle. The moment you open the box with all the parts and pieces, it is a complete chaos. You try to organize them, to sort them, to figure out some kind of system. This looks a little bit crazy, too. But eventually it will be a perfect, whole picture, when it is done. And until then, it seems like craziness. Looking back at the process though, it makes sense. But only looking backwards, not while we are at it.
We can replace money in this question with everything else. There are many things where we believe, we need to choose between XYZ and happiness. But we can have everything plus happiness, including happiness. Happiness is a choice we can make at any point in our lives, no matter our financial standpoint, our relationship or even health. It is something internal, that we can allow into our lives by bringing it to the surface. Feel it and show it to our outside world. It is something that we need to work on, it is a daily practice. There are many things that challenge our happiness and yet it is always there. Nothing, absolutely nothing stands in your way of happiness, but you choosing to be happy.
There is no … or happiness.
Remember this. Always. You are already happy inside. It is already there. You just need to look for it and allow it to show itself.
Happiness is your natural state of being.