The way most of the world acts, you would think that money is the substance of life. We give all our time for it, prioritizing it over our families and friends, and sometimes even our health. We fight over it, steal for it, kill for it, and are destroying the planet for it.
But money is just a measure of exchange. It has absolutely no value beyond what we give to it. We can sacrifice everything for it, and money wont care about us at all. But we can lose what actually matters in the quest for more money our time, our loved ones, and eventually our lives.
You probably already know this. But recognizing that money is not the root of happiness and making shifts necessary to disentangle you from that belief are two different things. The hamster wheel of working really hard just to keep your lifestyle going, which is the way it is because you work so much, is hard to break free from. But if you are ready to evaluate your relationship with abundance and experience more happiness in your life, this process may help.
Step 1: Identify What You Truly Need to Thrive
We think having more money will make us happier. But rarely is it the money itself that causes happiness. It is what the money allows us to do have a home, feed ourselves and our families, buy clothing and other necessities, travel, and care for ourselves that is really what we are seeking.
So when you start fantasizing about making a lot of money, or stress out because you do not have as much as you would like, shift your focus to what you actually want and need. Focus on your home being paid for, being fed, wearing comfortable clothes, and so on. Some things you need may come to you in unexpected ways. Or ways to earn income may present themselves when you are not so fixated on what you lack. It is not about earning money for moneys sake, but rather observing how it helps you live.
Step 2: Discover What Makes You Happy And How To Do It Directly
Do you truly enjoy your job? Does it make you come alive with the feeling that you are living your life purpose? Or do just drudge through it miserably to make the money to do what you actually want?
If your job does not bring you joy, find out what does. If you have to earn money to pay for childcare so you can work, consider working fewer hours and spending more time with your children. If you are working hard just so you can afford to go vacation in a forest, look for a job with the forest service or other outdoor agency so you can spend more of your time with the trees.
Dont use money as an obstacle between you and your dreams, nor be dependent on it to fulfill them. Take the most direct route possible towards your happiness.
Step 3: Prioritize Your Spending
As you transition towards your happiness-based lifestyle, there may be a few bumps along the road. You have probably developed spending habits based on your current income, potentially even compensating for your unhappiness by buying more things than you need.
To make the shift smoother, pay close attention to how you spend money. Stop buying things you dont need. Funnel your funds towards life necessities, and experiences that actually bring you joy. Break the habit of spending money just because you have it or feel like you should be buying stuff.
If it is impossible for you to completely change your career right now, figure out how much you actually need to make in order to thrive. Then release excess work hours or tasks, so you have more free time to do the things that do make you happy, or plot your economic transformation.
Step 4: Enjoy Life Along the Way
Part of the more money = more happiness fallacy is living in future. The hope that once we have enough money, then we will be able to enjoy life. Meanwhile all the good stuff passes us by. Have you missed spending time with you friends or parents, an important event at your childs school, or even just a beautiful sunset because you were too busy worrying and fantasizing about the future?
Life is meant to be lived! There is no someday. There is no Ill relax when I have enough money, because there is no such thing as enough. There is only now, this moment, and the countless blessings life offers us every day.
Money cannot buy any of the best things in life health, family, friends, meaningful experiences, laughter, and fulfillment. While it can facilitate a certain amount of ease, it cannot buy happiness. Happiness comes from living life in a way that honors your dreams, your passions, your integrity, and your heart. Stop worrying about how much money you have, and start living.