‘Money can’t buy happiness,’ a phrase most commonly used by people who have lots of it. Lately, I’ve heard people respond by saying something along the lines of, “maybe it can’t buy me happiness, but it sure can buy me a Prada handbag, and that’s pretty much the same thing.” I’m not one to judge on what may or may not make a person happy, I fully understand how completely different we all are, but I wanted to explain a little bit about what I think of this well-known phrase.
I can see where the annoyance over this phrase comes from, because it has typically been used by people who do in fact rely on money for their happiness. But, we’re all pretty guilty of that, aren’t we? Haven’t we all bought a pair of heels or treated ourselves to an expensive dinner to make ourselves feel better or enjoyed the days when our mums would buy us a stuffed animal because she knew that school had been particularly hard that day, or to soothe the heartache after a fight with a close friend? Haven’t we all relied on the superficial things to fill the sadness that sometimes bunches up in our stomaches on our worst days? I know I have. That doesn’t make us bad people. These material things, these objects, were made for our disposable. They were created for our pleasure. It only makes sense for us to use them. So then where does this phrase come from and where do we draw the line? If money can’t make us happy, then what can?
I’ve always looked at these material things as if they were like sugar. There are days when you really crave it, you can’t get enough and you want nothing more than to fill yourself up with the sweetness. But it never sustains you. You’re still left hungry. Your body still needs something else. It still needs something filling, something real.
There is only so much a handbag or diamond necklace can give you. It can give you a sense of joy, as you finally buy the exact one you’ve wanted for months, or the satisfaction when you wear it and show it off to all of your friends. But later on, if that’s all you have, it’ll ultimately leave you unsatisfied and empty. Whereas sunsets setting on the horizon of the beach and the way the ocean feels on your skin, autumn leaves falling off tree’s or snowflakes resting in your palms, the birds that sing outside your window at 4am and the moon that peers through your curtains before you go to sleep — that will keep you full for a lifetime.
In those moments, it won’t matter what you have in your wardrobe or which car is parked in your driveway. In those moments, nothing matters apart from the pure beauty that’s before your eyes, and the appreciation for life that runs through your veins, the happiness that was in-front of you all along, waiting to be revealed. The truth is, the best things in life don’t need to be bought, and no amount of money will be of any use, all they seek is to be noticed.
So I don’t agree – I don’t believe that happiness can be attained superficially. And the kind that is, it never lasts. If you’re looking for happiness, whatever that may be, I think you need to realise what you have. Too often we miss out on life, all because we’re too busy searching for something better. There is no greener grass. There is nothing you can buy that will make waking up in the morning feel good, if you don’t feel good inside. As cliche as you may sound think it sounds, pure happiness does in-fact start with you.
It starts with your love and appreciation of the world, for your family and friends, and most importantly, for yourself.
Isabel Murgelas dedicates herself to living a healthy, happy and adventure filled lifestyle. She has previously written for Your Zen Life, Happy Well Mag and Taylor Magazine. She enjoys traveling, acting, making music and aspires to inspire others with her words.