Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Money can't buy happiness ..but no money can cause depression? NO.

Worshiping money is to worship a false God.

A reader writes:
Money can't buy happiness ..but no money can cause depression".

I disagree.

In this country, it is hard, well, damn near impossible, to starve to death.  Obesity is the #1 health problem with the poor in America (as opposed to starvation in Africa).  So the idea that, in this country, you will end up broke and destitute, is well, overstated.

But yet many people ARE depressed from lack of money.  Why is this?  It is not because they don't have "enough" but because they want MORE THAN THEY HAVE.

In America, we judge our lives by what others have and by what we see on the TeeVee.  And by those standards, our lives always come up lacking - because someone always has a lot more than we do.

So the poor person seeks to buy more junk so they can feel "wealthy" like their neighbors.  And they finance all this junk, because they can't really afford it, and then end up "broke" because most of their income now goes to financing fees and late payments.

And no matter how much money you throw at a person like that, they will never, ever be happy - as there will always be someone else making more money, which when compared to their income, makes them unhappy.  And there will always be some other consumer good they "have to have" to make their life complete.

The answer isn't in making more and more money - that really isn't in the cards for most of us, anyway.  Our incomes are finite.  Rather the answer is to learn to live on less and be HAPPY with less.  Because once you get off the consumerist bandwagon, you realize what a false religion it was selling in the first place.

People claim they are "broke" only because they squandered what little they had, chasing consumerism dreams.  So they get a payday loan to "tide them over" and end up miserable and even more broke.  Lack of money depresses them, only because they obsess about money and really don't understand the first thing about it.  And oddly enough, the more a person obsesses about money, the less they understand how it works.

And such folks will be the first to tell you that "money is the root of all evil" when in fact, the Bible said no such thing, and in fact, money is value-neutral.   A hot stove may burn you, but only if you don't understand stoves.  The fact that you got burned does not make stoves "evil".  It just means you were stupid.  Owning up to that is the first step in understanding how to use a stove.

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."   Timothy 6:10

When you lust after money, status, power, wealth, and consumerism, well, you will be unhappy, as it is a false God and a goal you will never reach - it will always be pulled just out of your reach, no matter how hard you strive.

So no, lack of money doesn't "cause" depression, unless you have set your mind on the idea that you need money to be happy.  It is all in your head - and all within your control.  If you think buying a new outfit at the Mall is "happiness" then lack of money will make you unhappy.  But on the contrary, having money will never make you happy, as you will spend it all in short order, chasing a false happiness, and end up broke again.

If lack of money is making you depressed, then think about why this is so.  Chances are, you can re-think your priorities and be happy without money.  The best and most fun things in life are free - or at least very inexpensive.