How would you find meaning in your life if you never HAD to work again? Would you consider being a philanthropist? Who would you become?
These are interesting questions I’ve pondered many times when I buy a lottery ticket!
Of course much has been said already about happiness and money, with many previous jackpot winners ending up broke and unhappy after blowing the entire wad on expensive things and a lavish lifestyle. They had been ill prepared for sudden wealth, and had probably put too much stock in a fancy lifestyle to make them happy and ended up penniless and disillusioned.
When I used to dream of winning a jackpot, I had people either helpfully or bitterly pointing out that happiness after all, doesn’t come from things or a lifestyle which made me feel a little hopeless, wondering then what was the point of even trying to work hard to create a good future if happiness didn’t also come with it?
I have since learned that happiness is a choice in how we live our life and how we view everything in it. I’m grateful for the life I have led, for it taught me all my lessons, and I’m grateful for the life I have now. I make my own choices in my life, and I have chosen to do the things which bring me joy.
This combination of gratitude and joy is the foundation of my happiness, even though at this date of writing and posting the article I have not found financial success!
So is there any point to money and wealth? Does it do any good at all?
If money is simply used to furnish a comfortable lifestyle for ourselves, then no, it probably does no good! (Although, I’m definitely one who’d like to give it a try!)
However, if you use your money to help others, then it possibly is worth it and can do great good! I say possibly, because it all depends on how the money is spent!
For example, simply buying a house for someone may in itself be a noble act of putting a roof over their head and giving them a place of their own, but if their whole situation hasn’t been looked at, then this can backfire!
How? Well, if the person has financial issues, either from a lack of know-how, or even alcohol or drug addiction issues, the house can be lost if they don’t pay their property taxes for example! Is the house too large for what they are able to afford in upkeep of the bills for heating/cooling, maintenance, insurance or other expenses associated with ownership? Are they responsible enough to pay these monthly expenses, or will they expect you to take care of all those things for them, here-on-in?
Helping other people isn’t just an act of writing a check to buy things for other people! For it to work, it requires looking at each person’s situation and helping them it ways that are meaningful and have an eye to helping them become who they want, and to be self-sufficient.
If you have money, and someone is going through a hard time, is it wrong to give them a helping hand? I think it’s great to pitch in and buy groceries for someone for example, but making a habit of it can make some people complacent. Establishing a timeline is helpful, because many people only need interim help until they get on their feet.
It’s necessary to find out a little of the other person’s life in order to determine what kind of giving would have the most impact in their life.
Do they need a paid sitter while they go back to school? Do they need help with moving costs to get their family into a safer/better home? Does their vehicle need to be repaired so they can get to their job? Would a few pre-paid gas/grocery cards help them through a tight time? These are a few smaller things to look at.
Larger things might include paying for someone’s expenses to keep a roof over their children’s heads and food on the table while the person is in drug/alcohol rehab, or going back to school for their GED or to get training for a job. Helping someone to get on their feet is something that pays us all back in so many ways!
By getting to know the people’s needs, it can be determined if they will have a personal investment in their own future, or if they are just trying to get a free ride!
I do have a reservation with investing in something risky, unless you have specifically set aside a portion of your money that you are prepared to lose and never see again!
If I never had to worry about earning a living, I’d continue to write and blog, do art and take plenty of photographs. Those are things which bring me joy and are part of my life’s mission and journey, even if it’s a little esoteric!
I buy a lottery ticket perhaps once a week or once per month, and find it to be the cheapest form of therapy that I know for $2.00! Of course I dream of winning, but I’ve also thought it over, and figure I would start a foundation in order to be able to help people, to add to what I currently do. I would hire people not only to help run the day-to-day operations, but also to help meet with people to determine how people can best be helped. Or I could set up trusts for certain organizations and non-profits who I hold dear to my heart, who already do that work but need more funding to support their initiatives.
Since I’ve already found my worth and know where my joy and happiness lie, I would hope to help others do the same for themselves. I’m happy with who I have grown into, and would want to hold onto these lessons, and I feel giving in meaningful ways will be the best way to continue on this path.
So to help you a little on your road to finding happiness for yourself here are a few thoughts from the book How to Heal Your life on a Deep Heart Level:
“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” – C.S. Lewis
“Happiness is when you like what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Happiness is a quality of mind. It is something we possess within… if we do not have it within, nothing outside can give it to us.” – Paramananda
The Pursuit of Happiness
The full time pursuit of happiness is a lost cause since it is actually impossible to be happy all the time!
The Creator gave us other emotions that we need to deal with and situations that bring those emotions out. If we seek only to feel happiness, then we short-change ourselves and lose out on the opportunities for soul growth. It is only by going through those difficult and disturbing situations that we have an opportunity to learn, to master emotions, to learn how to handle them maturely and healthily. This takes great effort, repetition, time and strength to keep getting up to face our battles.
So where does happiness fit into the picture? It happens when we can love ourselves enough, when we are doing the best we can, when we keep pushing ourselves to even higher efforts.
“The effort of the genuine spiritual seeker should be to cultivate love until the mind becomes saturated by it.” – Bhante Y. Wimala
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