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Almost every person has asked themselves this question at least once. The answer to this question always varies when asked and can show what kind of person someone is and what they truly value most in life. Money is needed for almost everything like food, clothing, and a home. Out of the many things that money can buy, there are some things that it can’t buy, like happiness.
According to oxford dictionary, the word “happy” is defined as “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
” Although this may be the definition of happiness, its meaning is different to every single person. Many definitions of happiness go along the lines of being healthy, feeling loved and cared for, feeling accomplished, and having people that are close such as family and friends. All the prior things cannot be given by money, although receiving money can be a sense of accomplishment if one worked hard to achieve it. Money itself does not bring us true happiness, but it does allow us to make strides towards becoming truly happy.
Contrary to what was defined above, society’s definition of happiness seems to consist of money, power, fame, possessions, sexual attractiveness, and other things of the sort. When we see those who have many of the following things, we assume that they are happy. They have everything going for them and nothing can bring them down. This is not always true. I believe that even if one has more than they could ever want or need, it does not entail happiness.
Material possessions and money do not immediately make someone truly content. Saying this, I do not agree with society’s definition of happiness. It seems very shallow and leaves no room for those who do not fit the definition.
Many people feel that if they are content with what they are making now money-wise, they begin to believe that they will be even happier if they made even more. As a result of this, they begin to work harder, putting in later nights. This hard work eventually does pay off and gets them that raise in income they had always wanted. But, unfortunately, they do not feel any better or happier. They accomplished their goal but did not feel any more content with what they have. So, they begin to think maybe they need to work even harder to achieve an even higher income. This cycle will just continue over and over since the money was not the thing that makes someone happy. If anything, it made them even sadder. They could have everything they wanted, but they are not truly happy. This is due to him working hard for the wrong reasons. He needs something sentimental to work for.
For example, picture a family living in a nice, small home. This family lives within their means, not rich nor poor. They are content and happy with what they have and cherish their time together. This family is close-knit, and it seems as if nothing could pull them apart. One day, the father begins to think “I’m going to work hard and give what my family truly deserves.” With this goal in mind, he starts staying to work later, doing overtime to achieve it. He begins to pull all-nighters and put in massive amounts of effort for the benefit of his family. As a result, he eventually does achieve his goal, he receives a major raise. Consequently, since the father was away from home, physically and mentally, the family began to drift apart. The connections that were present previously are now weaker. The father was able to purchase a house that was much larger than the size of their old home. Despite what he did for his family, it had made the family drift apart. The once tight-knit family in the small, cozy home is now an isolated and lonely family in a nicer home. The father regrets the time he did not spend with his children and wife. This goes to show that money does not bring true happiness. The father’s heart was in the right place, but he let the money take over his life.
Money can also have an adverse effect on one’s children. For the next example, we will use the family from earlier. Suppose that the family wants to send their children to an expensive and prestigious school to ensure that they can pursue any career they want, not hampered by the financial side of it all. Their children may graduate from this school without critical life skills, such as knowing how to cope when things are not going as planned, when they can only afford one meal a day, or even how to respect those who are not as fortunate as them. They may have never learned how to truly live on their own without having an excess amount of money. This may come to hurt them in the long run. All these life skills could have been taught by their parents, but they may have been too focused on making a bigger paycheck or buying needless things. This goes to show it is not a good idea to let money control your life. You should only use it as a basis to benefit your children and future, not have it be a negative impact on their lives.
There is a counter argument to this belief, however. Arguably, money does bring a certain degree of happiness and contentment. It is true that a person who has a house and can afford to eat three meals a day will most likely be happier than a person who lives on the streets and survives on food that they found in the trash. Money can also alleviate any kind of financial problems that hampers many people throughout their lives. Having enough money to keep the people in your life happy is also nice. For example, your child asks for something for Christmas. You buy it for them and on Christmas Day, you get to see the big smile on the face of your child. In this case, money can bring happiness.
Regarding my opinion on this matter, I said earlier that I believe that money does not bring true happiness as much as some people like to think. Growing up, I lived in a very nice home and there was not a shortage of money. My mother and father both worked hard to put the bread on the table. Due to this, my brothers and I lived well. One could even say we were spoiled. Anyways, despite getting almost anything I wanted, be it a new toy or the newest gaming consoles, I never felt truly happy. I believed that material possessions would fill this hole, but they never really did. They gave a short-lived type of satisfaction. Christmas Day was always a favorite of mine, as it is for many children, waking up early before everyone to see the beautiful array of presents under the tree. That feeling of opening that present you have wanted for months would bring such joy. Unfortunately, even though I had everything I wanted, I still felt empty.
To this day, I am not truly happy. I still continue to try and fill the hole with material possessions, hoping to find happiness, but I know it is a waste of time and money. I know what it means to be happy. To be truly happy, money should not be the main cause, but a basis for it. We should use the money to open up opportunities for us to pursue it. It should be used to help the people you love and make connections with those that care. Family and friends should come first, and one should be selfless. True happiness is achieved by living life the way you want with those you love. Money can have a negative impact on people, making them selfish and only looking out for themselves. It may feel good for the time being, but what happens when you fall? Who is going to be there to help you out if you left everyone behind only thinking about yourself? Therefore, one should live a life of selflessness and of love, because we will all eventually need each other. “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” -Jonathan Swift
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