Saturday, September 8, 2012

Material Worth Versus Happiness

We are living in a society that idolizes material worth but you knew that already.  As the saying goes the one with the most toys wins.  When it comes to happiness though, studies show that they really don't.  Gandhi knew it and that is why he chose to live a material free life.  Unfortunately when we are surrounded by all kinds of fancy things we come to believe we need them.  Soon our wants become needs and in order to achieve those needs we as a society are working ourselves to death.  Stress and anxiety rates are rising, families are breaking up.  Our children have everything they could ever want but us as we're working to pay for those things.  The children are not happier for it, bullying is becoming a majour issue, children are suffering with depression and anxiety at earlier and earlier ages.

I recently read "Me to We," by Craig and Marc Kielburger who have gone into some of the poorest areas of the poorest countries in the world.  They found happy people.  Of course this doesn't mean that their lives were great or that they had everything they needed it simply means that even though they had little or nothing these people appreciated life and celebrated the very things our society moans about.  

Marc Kielburger told the story of street children in Bangkok, he learned that these boys were working in the sex trade and didn't know who their parents were.  The amazing thing is these children would get together to celebrate birthday's.  Being street kids, they didn't know when their birthday's were so each year they gathered together and celebrated everyones birthday.  It was simply a celebration of life, despite having nothing.  That's an amazing occurrence that westerners could take a lesson from.

Craig visited a tribe in Africa, material good here were few and far between but what Craig noticed was that these people were far greater at sharing, food, tools, anything they had.  He also noted that they were happy and celebrated small blessings that our society often take for granted or even complain about.  How many times have you heard someone groan, "ugh, it's raining again.  My coat is soaked."  In this African tribe the people celebrated the rain and ran out into it to enjoy it.  It is considered natures gift.  This is truly a lesson us westerners need to learn.  Rain gives us food and drinking water, why do we complain about it.  We should be thankful for it but we have lost sight of where true happiness comes from.  We're busy contemplating what cell phone to get next or how to own a bigger house.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

My challenge to you is, celebrate the little things in life.  Appreciate the things that matter and don't take them for granted.  I'm doing this myself.  Keep a journal of the things you are thankful for.  I keep mine by my bed, that way I go to bed thinking of the things I am thankful for rather then negatives.  Try to keep these things non material.  Think about the person who makes you happiest, the last time you laughed until you cried, all the things that make you happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment