Some People are happy and rich– Are You?
Children’s wisdom is greater than we think. We should never underestimate the power of our teaching just by being who we are, from what we say, but mostly what we do and how we do it.
When my children ask why we do what we do, I make a point of explaining to them. We often engaged in discussion related to daily life as this is a great opportunity to teach and grow for all of us. That is why I should not have been surprised with my 10 year old comments. At one of our dinner conversation she said out loud something like this (I don’t recall the exact words but the core or the message stayed with me):
"From the outside, rich people look happier and poor people look sadder. But the truth is, rich people are not happier from the inside because they feel like they always need more stuff to be happy. The poor people are happier inside because they appreciate what they have and are grateful for it." When I asked her where do we stand as a family, she said, ‘’well, somewhere in between’’.
So then I had to ask her what she meant by poor and rich, because as you know, we can interpret it very differently. For her, rich means living in a big mansion and owning everything you can buy, being greedy and wanting more whereas poor means living in a trailer or being homeless, being humble and grateful.
I think all parents have these moments of awe when they listen to their children thinking out loud, wondering: ‘’where did they get that from?’’ I surely was not there in my thinking at her age, at least not from what I remember. Now I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that there is some truth to her statement, even though nothing is as black or white. When we have a lot, we tend to always want more. Yeah, she mentioned that too.
In my heart, I wished that all "the poor’’, the ‘’rich’’ and all of us in between were more appreciative of what we have. I have to admit that I secretly think that my daughter's statement might be more accurate in countries in development, where most people live in deep poverty. In a country like United States, we are surrounded by products. For that reason we tend to compare ourselves with others who have more or are presented with the idea that we need this or that to reach happiness, as if goods were the journey and happiness the goal. (By the way why are we calling them goods? I wonder if this is not another marketing scheme to get people to buy more, because it is ‘’good’; If products were called ‘’bads’’, would we buy them?)
Being surrounded by so much stuff may make us feel inadequate and thus longing for more. Hence, my assumption is that most of us, might not be as appreciative of what we have because we are constantly surrounded by images or information about what is missing in our life.
Rich in financial term
I have read enough information about financial freedom to have a clear definition of what rich means in financial terms: when you are debt free, with extra money in the bank and money works for you rather than you working for money. It means that you don’t need to show up to work and there is still money coming in. This is called passive income. I like this concept of financial freedom because to me it is about the freedom to use your time as you wish. Being able to have money working for our family means I can work on my calling even though this does not pay enough to make a living, I can volunteer, give to others and building our homestead while enjoying more time with my children. For these reasons, my husband and I are working towards that goal, but not at any price. One should never neglect the journey. How about you? Where do you stand? Are you more goal or journey oriented? Have you already found this delicate balance?
A new kind of rich
When we think we need to buy more to be more this reflect a false sense of security and it never ends. Also it means that we think we are not good enough because there is something that needs to be ‘’fixed’’. I adhere to the concept of humans being already divine as we are, not separate from God or Life; however you want to call it, not even separated from nature which is the representation of Life. Everything is connected and already at its best. We all have inside all that we need. We just need reminders once in awhile ;-).
So being rich is more than having lots of money. If you already read about sustainability, you may know that there are three main elements to it: environment, society and economy. What we tend to forget in the western world though, is how they fit together. The economy is not the destination but part of the journey.
To be sustainable on our planet we need to have a thriving economy that supports our society, hence all people. These people (us) hence don’t need to allocate all of their resources to fulfill their basic needs, can in return nurture their connection to the environment. Connecting with nature gives back to her and nourishes us as well. We have to remember that in the ends, if we don’t nurture nature, we cannot survive on this planet, whether we have money or not.
So the new kind of rich to me is this vision of sustainability within our own family, neighborhood, country and planet. It starts at home, especially if we want to teach our children, tomorrow’s citizen, how to balance their life with values that matter to the heart. Being happy is being rich in itself. It means counting our blessings, using resources with wisdom and consciousness, taking care of others, nourishing our lives by eating well, sleeping enough and being in movement. It is about loving who we are and others, to be truthful, learning to forgive, to be compassionate, to let go and so much more. But it needs to start in our own heart.
When you are happy you are rich. When you have this abundance, you don’t need to fix anything: you can only be present in the moment and enjoy what life has to offer. I am in for that.
This is part of my calling, to be of help. I plan on creating something amazing for us all so we can all get richer together, not on the expense of others. Will you join me on that journey? Leave me a quick note on what is your first step and how I can help.