Friday, May 22, 2009

Viewing Life and Money Objectively

It's easy to get depressed. Especially when you listen to the news or read the best selling books about the collapsing economy, environmental toxins, terrorist threats, inefficient government, pandemic viruses, and multitude of scams and ripoffs that threaten us every day. But it doesn't make sense to dwell on the negative. Not only does it not make sense but most of this negative stuff are exaggerations of the media to get and keep our attention and justify their jobs.

I mean you can find tons of things that are wrong with the world, with your friends and family, and with yourself . Nothing seems to work the way you think it should and the dreams of childhood are quickly squelched by the realities of making a living and having to take care of yourself.

However, there is a lot of good in the world presently and more importantly there is a lot of good stuff to look forward to. Most importantly much of the negative stuff isn't real. It is our interpretation of what is happening. Yes, you can create negative scenarios and spin events to paint a scary picture. But life, especially in the United States is pretty good. Most of the things that upset us or trouble us only do so because we have unrealistic expectations. If we would just accept the fact that we all have weaknesses and flaws and learn to be more accepting and understanding of the truth of our rather humorous condition rather than complaining and judging, the world would appear much brighter.

One of our major areas of concern is money. However,if we are honest and objective, whether we are rich or poor all our lives are pretty much the same. It is true that if you have money you can eat in better restaurants, drive nicer cars, have bigger houses, and go on more luxurious vacations. It does seem, I admit, that money makes life easier but most of the things that we do that take up our time are not dependent on money. They are dependent on our attitudes and our inner state. All of us, no matter how rich we are have to spend all our time with ourselves and our thoughts. This is the great equalizer.

Everyone has to live with their own thoughts, go to the bathroom, sleep, and deal with other people. No matter how much money you have you can only sit in one chair in one part of your house. If you love your chair and are content in your space no amount of money can improve this. No amount of money can make a dish of ice cream with chocolate syrup any more delicious.

All the money in the world cannot give you more pleasure from reading, surfing the internet, listening to music, watching your favorite sports team, holding your child or grandchild, or expressing your opinion about any subject that interests you. It is very hard to gain a healthy and realistic perspective about money. We are so conditioned to believe that having money is equated with happiness. And when we don't have much money it can be especially hard to feel good about ourselves and our lives.

I've had periods in my life when I've had a lot of money, much more than I needed. It was nice. But mostly what it did was enable me to realize that having money is a little overrated. The problem is not with money. There is nothing wrong with having money, spending money, and having nice things. The problem is what we have to sacrifice to get it and how much of our identity and sense of self worth is dependent on whether we have money or not.

My main point is that life is good. It actually is terrific. It's is the best thing that we know of and beats any other alternative. Why be depressed? Why let the creations of the media or others get you down? Try to find a way to live each day appreciating what you have and doing the things that make you happy. Remember what Socrates said, "Enjoy yourself, its later than you think."

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