Is Happiness Expensive?

Happiness is Expensive

Is happiness really expensive?

This message has haunted me these last few days. I believe that UNhappiness is expensive. If you are unhappy and use money to chase happiness, it leads to more unhappiness. So you spend more money and the cycle repeats until you are broke or wake up and realize that something has to change.

Happiness is a choice. It is a decision we make. It has nothing to do with the amount of toys we have or the number of zeroes in our bank accounts. Every day we are bombarded with messages that feed this myth. We believe that if we buy that new shiny/pretty, we will be happy. Been there done that and believe me folks, it does not work.

I used to postpone my happiness. I would set goals and when I reached them, I felt hollow. So I set more goals. The more “successful” I became, the less happy I felt. I believed that more money was the answer. I finally decided to stop chasing happy. I gave up the illusion that more money or any other shiny/pretty would make me happy. I decided to be happy NOW.  I sat myself down an looked at my values. I examined my wants and needs and realized that some of my needs were frozen needs. I started thawing them out. At first, I had to fake happy. Then I started to notice that I was not faking it anymore. I was pleasantly surprised at how much peace came with that decision.

There were a few things that helped me along this path and I wanted to share them with you.

1. Turn off the television.

I went hardcore and got rid of mine completely. You may want to start with going a day, week or month without television. Notice what happens and how you spend your time. This gives you some space from marketing messages.

2. Connect with like-minded happy people.

They say birds of a feather flock together. Notice the people around you. Are they always complaining or are they positive people? How do you contribute? Can you decide to be happy together? We cannot control others, however we can make choices about how we spend our time. Do you need to expand your circle and find new friends? Be kind and compassionate with yourself and others as you work this out.

3. Learn to distinguish between wants, needs and frozen needs.

As humans, we all  have basic needs – food, clothing and shelter. We also have emotional needs. Some of our needs were not met as children and so those needs are frozen in time. We can never go back and change the fact that there was a lack. If we try to fill those needs in the present time, we find that we are never satisfied.  Ask yourself what you are hoping to accomplish with a particular want or need. What expectations do you have and are they being met? Are your expectations realistic? Are they based on old hurts? Journaling is a great tool to start sorting this out. If appropriate, seek professional help and guidance if you decide that you do not want to work on this alone.

If you find yourself caught in the spiral of using money to chase happiness, I invite you to sign up for my blog updates and to stay tuned for more tips and suggestions on this topic and others.

 

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