On The Connection Between Money And Happiness

It is a truth universally acknowledged that money cannot buy happiness.

However, it is truth less universally acknowledged that money that can be spent in ways that makes us not necessarily happy but happier.

(Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project explains this perfectly.)

The first step towards spending in ways that contribute to your happiness is to identify what it is that you are actually seeking when buying one thing or another.

When buying a pair of jeans from a renowned designer brand, are you inwardly hoping that the said pair of jeans will transform your natural curves into a supermodel’s skeleton?

When buying an educational toy that has been well-reviewed by a blogger mum, are you inwardly hoping that it will transform your unruly little devil of a child into a peaceful little angel like the daughter of the said blogger mum?

When buying a house for your family, are you inwardly hoping that, upon moving in, your jealous and controlling husband, as well as your rebellious teenage son will change their ways? 

Money cannot buy us a new body, regardless of whether we dislike our current one simply because of its appearance or because of its malfunction. Neither can it buy meaningful relationships or a functional family. And of course nothing can help us in the impossible task of changing the people around us.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t go to that dance class you have been meaning to go to for a few years now, but have always thought the price too high for an hour’s enjoyment of yourself.

It also doesn’t mean that you can’t buy that dress you have been staring at everyday on your way to work for the last month, but have put off buying until you lose those last few kilos.

Neither does it mean that you can’t buy that book on marriage that you started reading last week in the book store, but didn’t buy because you didn’t want to feel like a selfish idiot who needs a book to help them with a deceivingly simple task like living with a fellow human being whom you love.

As you begin to spend in ways that contribute to your happiness, you will begin to feel bursts of pleasure more often. (Not all the time, of course; to feel ecstatically happy all the time is perhaps the most unrealistic goal of all.) And as your own levels of happiness increase, you may notice something surprising too – the world around you and the people within it have changed too.

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