We’ve all heard that money can’t buy happiness, but you’ve got to admit that sometimes having just a bit more could make you a lot happier, if only to be able to afford a long-dreamed about vacation, a new car or even new tires, braces for the kids or just enough to go a spa, drink some wine and soak away the residue of a tough week. We’ve all got our own unique relationship with money and possessions and are sometimes conflicted about having enough or not. Just ask a divorce lawyer or a therapist about one of the leading causes in marital distress that keeps them occupied and you’ll hear the word money.
Does having enough money to buy top-of-the-line products, live in large houses, dine at fancy restaurants, take luxury vacations and drive expensive cars mean you’ve arrived and that you’re happy? Maybe. For some folks, having massive amounts of wealth means having the power to influence and shape the direction of their lives in ways many of us mortals can never fully understand. Perhaps we are a bit envious, which is why TV programs about great wealth and game shows where people can earn substantial amounts of money and prizes intrigue and titillate us. And consider the lottery where anyone from any walk of life can score big and live large. We love those stories, don’t we?
Let’s face it, there is only one Donald Trump or Warren Buffett or Bill Gates and legions of other wealthy people. Some were born with the so-called silver spoon and others were at the right place, at the right time, with the right idea with just the right amount of luck and the moxie to make things happen. We honor their accomplishments and envy them but surely they also have their own tales of hard times, fear, uncertainty, loss and doubt darken their good fortune. What we can learn from them about living a rich life is that, yes, being rich means you can buy the best life has to offer, but that’s the superficial, visible and ostentatious part of having money. The most important lesson is that prosperity honestly earned through hard work, risk taking, creativity and persistence is empowering as it equals more freedom and flexibility to make the choices that are right for you and not made by others because of financial consideration; and that can be the foundation for a full, rich, and maybe happy, life. Having money in the bank can empower you to make decisions based on confidence rather than fear or basic need in order to just survive. Ultimately, living a rich life depends less on wealth as it does on humor, optimism, gratitude, resourcefulness, good friends, loving and honest relationships, simple pleasures sipped slowly, charity and humility as well as the courage to make tough choices.
To schedule an appointment with Ben Novell, LMFT, Janelle Novell, LMFT, RPT-S or any of our therapists, please call 951-252-9911.
(Image from beginnersinvest.about.com)