Money is overrated
We’re all obsessed with making money. The more the better. Everything we do is motivated by money. What’s more, if you have money then others will flock to you, right? Money is a sign of success and many people believe that money buys them entrance to the exclusive ‘wealthy club’. A club where you can have the best of everything and can finally be happy and carefree…sorry to burst the bubble but this is just erroneous thinking.
It saddens me when I hear clients tell me that they are having a miserable life at the moment but it is all in preparation for when they start earning a lot of money. Then they will finally be able to chill out and lie back and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Wrong again!
Capitalism has led us to believe that money is necessary for a good life. That if you don’t have much money, you are missing out. Now, it’s a very common misconception when you don’t have money toÂ imagine what life would be like where money was not an issue. The reality though is different. I have asked wealthy clients whether they stop and pat themselves on the back. I asked whether they stop and relax and begin their carefree happy life now that they are financially stable. Not one of them answered “yes”. They told me that since earning good money, they have just been presented with a different set of problems. One if which is worrying about losing the money they have accumulated.
Another client came in to see me a while ago and mentioned that he was feeling low. He mentioned that en route to his counselling session with me, he had seen a guy driving a Porsche. My client’s automatic reaction was: “He must have a great life. Successful, nice car…”. That thought (and it’s just a thought not fact) made him feel worse. Comparing ourselves to those that we think are better off than ourselves can leave us feeling deprived. We don’t even know if that thought has any validity. Don’t do it. Stop focusing on what you don’t have and start appreciating what you do have.
I recently read Sharon Osbourne‘s latest autobiography, “Unbreakable” and she made many good points in there:
“From the day I married Ozzy, I’d always had this thing in my mind that, if I made the perfect home, if there were flowers, if there was fruit, if I got the bloody right curtains, if it smelt lovely and looked gorgeous, then it would make everything right in our world.”
She goes on to say, ” I realized it wasn’t Ozzy that was blind, it was me. I have always placed so much emphasis on the ambience of a place; I would want every house to make us happy. And if it didn’t then it would be, Oh God, it’s the wrong layout, the wrong location, it’s too small, it’s too big…I must sell it and then everything will be perfect and we’ll be happy and so will the kids. But recently, after all those years of trying, of fretting about that painting ruining the room or those cushions not being plumped properly. I’ve realised that it means jack shit. You can’t manufacture happiness.
The happiest times were when we were broke and we had nothing.”
The above extract highlights perfectly how we look for external things to make us feel happy inside when happiness really is an ‘inside job’. If it was true that money automatically equals happiness, you would never find an unhealthy wealthy person.
Money does offer choice and freedom and having no money or being homeless is obviously awful and I am not referring to that extreme. We all need the basics to feel content. But don’t mistakenly believe that being rich will solve your problems and miraculously make you happy. You will still have self doubt (probably even more in some ways as you will constantly be wondering who your true friends are), you will still see the world in the way you always have – your distortions and attitudes will still remain. Money certainly relieves some stress and there’s nothing wrong with wanting money but see it for what it is. A means to an end – not a miracle cure for misery and self loathing.