Can money buy happiness?

By Priscilla Tawie
LimKokWing University of Creative Technology
Diploma in Mass Communications

THEY SAY HAPPINESS CAN’T BE bought with money. What’s money? Nowadays with the rise of modern technology, everything can be easily bought online, even items that need to be shipped overseas whether it’s from the US to Malaysia or from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching.

Every single desire can be purchased at the click of a button or tap of a touchscreen. It’s only human nature to want something so badly – even more than companionship, at times- but the main question is: can fulfilling one’s desires equal pure happiness?

If one cannot even control themselves mentally, being unable to own something they desire can even lead to debilitation. “But is it worth it?” is a question that is asked tons of times. Does retail therapy cure the stress that we often feel? For some, retail therapy is like God, but deep down, the problems don’t go away. For some, even after spending more, not only do the current problems get prolonged, they also develop.

Nowadays, people find it necessary to shop for things that they often won’t use for long, and even owning one diamond is never enough. With all the international or latest brands entering the market, having enough will never be enough only because there is a need to fulfill. But the question is, how fulfilled is ‘fulfilled’?

Furthermore, new things will keep on entering the market, and people by nature are always going to feel the ‘want’ to spend on luxuries they sometimes have no reason or use for.

They often say spending money keeps everyone happy. Like after buying the latest phone, one would often experience happiness, but how long does that last? One should feel happiness always, not just once. A few months after spending hundreds or even thousands on a phone, a new phone with better specifications might enter the market, and by then, happiness is the last thing one would feel.

Most of the time, individuals would opt to sell their old phones to purchase a new phone that is only slightly different than the last one. Same goes to buying a new shirt; some may say they NEED a new shirt when they actually mean they WANT a new shirt, while those who are financially disadvantaged don’t even have enough to live by.

If just buying one shirt is already enough to give them happiness, what more could someone who can afford a new shirt every single week need? Why not ask yourself, does buying something you desire make you really happy? Does the problem go away? Retail therapy isn’t always the answer, and running away from the problems doesn’t work either.

How far can we go till we lose all value and happiness? Sometimes, when a person spends too much for materialistic reasons, they often have less for necessities such as food. Yes, having clothes are necessary, but how much till it’s no longer needed or too much? Should we have a closetful or should we just settle with what we have?

Often we hear people complain that they never have enough, but they just don’t realise how lucky they are to have everything they ever needed and yet feel that they are “not enough”.

Happiness, just like sadness, are only emotions that we feel, emotions that – depending on your own belief system – God input into each of us so we excel instead of just exist.

Happiness is realising those little things around us that builds up into something that not only proves our existence, but also make us feel that we’re actually living. Happiness is being appreciative of the families, the friends and all that we have in our lives now because some don’t have the same opportunities like us.

Money doesn’t buy happiness; money doesn’t buy the perfect family, or love-relationships. But, if you learn to appreciate what you have, it’s only then you’ll feel true happiness.

So can everyone just run to the nearest supermarket and just pick up a bottle of happiness? Each individual wishes it were possible, but the truth is, it’s not. It’s not possible to purchase happiness, because each one of us already owns it. It’s just a matter of whether we want to feel it or not.

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