A big house, a big car, a husband or wife, money in the bank, a widescreen television and an iPhone: the picture of perfect happiness. The picture most of us believe in and dream of, but we are all dreaming of the wrong picture.
Don’t worry you can’t help it. It’s the picture you are brought up with, it’s the picture your parents believe(d) in and it’s the picture that’s all around you. Look at all the commercials: happy, slim girls, smiling guys with their new phone, car or laptop. Look at all the (Hollywood)movies. Romantic comedies where – in the end – the guy always gets the girl and they live happily ever after. Look at all the soap series. I grew up when Dynasty and Dallas were on television. Money was the main topic. They were fighting about it, because more money meant more happiness. And look at all the comedy series: Bill Cosby Show, Family Ties, even Married with Children: happy families (Al and Peggy in their own way), decent jobs (except for Al) dreaming or busy with living in a big house and making money.
Dealing with emotions
We are brought up with this picture. Even our school system is set up for it. We learn skills – mathematics, chemistry, economics – that prepare us to get a job and make money. We don’t learn how to deal with emotions, what herbs to pick, how to grow our vegetables or how to connect with people. Dealing with your emotions isn’t seen as a skill that will make you happy by our governments, making money is. Because if we make money, the people in charge even make more money.
Poor people in Africa risk their life, crossing the ocean in leaking vessels to get their hands on some money as well, blinded by our wealth, which – from the outside – is a synonym for happiness. (I am not talking about refugees who flee because of stupid wars, because we should open our borders for them.). Indians turn their back on their rich, spiritual culture, induced as they are by the fake image the West holds on too. They have started to believe that money brings happiness as well.
In the West some of us now that money is not leading to happiness. It’s a tool, but possession, iPhones, big cars and big houses don’t bring happiness. A lot of people still believe it. They are still dreaming of the wrong picture. They have a big house, a big car, a husband or wife, but are still unhappy. But they are still blinded by this wrong picture. They believe they are simply not happy because their house just isn’t big enough, because their is a new iPhone on the market that will make them happy, because their husband or wife is just not good enough. They are still chasing the euro or the dollar, but the only thing that will bring is more suffering.
Trapped in a vicious cycle
We are all ‘busy, busy, busy’. If you ask people what they would do if they had more time, hardly anybody answers: “I would work more”. And yet, we spent so much hours working. We work to pay for a car, to pay for clothes we need for work. We work to pay for a membership on the gym to work off the stress we have because of our work. We are trapped in a vicious cycle and we don’t seem to get out of it.
But we can. As soon as we see we are dreaming of the wrong picture we can step out of it. As soon as we see we are actually not chasing happiness, but we are chasing wealth and wealth isn’t bringing happiness we can step out of it. As soon as we see we just follow the path society has rolled out for us, we can step out of it and start following our own path. We can start to determine what happiness really is for us. But to be able to do that, we need guts. We have to stop acting out of fear and start acting out of love. We have to let go of what our mind is telling us and start following our heart. We have to stop talking to others and start listening to our selves, because happiness is not outside of us, happiness is inside of us. Happiness is not ‘having’, happiness is being.
It’s up to you. Do yo believe in the dollar or do you believe in you?