Times We Try To Buy Happiness But It Never Works

October 31, 2019  |  
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money can't buy happiness argument

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It’s true that money can’t buy happiness. It can, perhaps, buy off stress and discontent. Without enough money to pay for the essentials like food and shelter, you’d be miserable. So buying those things eliminates distress—but it doesn’t buy happiness. And I think that, because money can address some issues in life, many people mistake if for being able to purchase true joy. Money is the preferred tool of people who aren’t quite emotionally well adjusted. When one doesn’t know how to win over the affection and love of others through traditional methods—like through giving affection and love—they can turn to money. Hey, even I’ve been seduced by money a few times, and mistook it for a true connection with someone. But in the end, the truth always comes out—if you’re unhappy, all the money in the world can’t change that. Here are times we try to buy happiness with money but it never works.


Traveling away from the fight

When you aren’t getting along with a friend, roommate, family member, colleague, or partner, you just book a flight and take yourself on a vacation. You can book massages and shows and nice dinners, but all the while, you aren’t really enjoying yourself, when you know you have unresolved conflict in your life. You can’t cover up your unhappiness with money. Furthermore, you can’t really enjoy a trip like this all by yourself—a modest, budget trip with good friends is always better than a five-star resort alone.


Traveling with the fight

I know many couples who try to just throw a vacation at their problems. When they can’t seem to get along, they just get away together. The problem is that they are the issue—not their surroundings. So even on the beautiful sandy beaches of Hawaii…they still fight.


When we weren’t there for a friend

When you’ve been selfish, and weren’t there for a friend (maybe you ditched her on girls’ night to be with your boyfriend), you try to buy her love back. You send a gift card, or something like that. But you still feel sick—because you can’t pay away the fact that you were a bad friend.


Staying at a hotel—not with family

So you don’t quite get along with your family. They bug you. You think it’s best to stay in a hotel when you visit them. And what happens? They take it so personally, that they make little comments about it the entire visit, that create so much tension, you would have gotten along better if you’d just stayed with them.


When we weren’t there for a child

You miss their soccer tournament, so you buy them that expensive toy that you probably shouldn’t buy them. And yet…you don’t quite get the response you’d hoped for. That’s because no object can replace you just being there when they need you.


Shopping sprees after disappointments

You get dumped. You get passed up for the promotion. You don’t get the job. You don’t get the grant. So you go shopping. You spend and spend, hoping to fill that hole in your heart. Then you go home, find you still have the same disappointment that sent you into the shopping spree, and just feel even worse for all of the money you spent.


High-profile events…with strangers

Let me tell you something about the person on Instagram who is at red carpet and VIP events every night and appears to have a thousand friends: she isn’t happy. Being surrounded by “important” strangers, even at the most glamorous event, never makes one happy. Sitting in a dive bar with close friends makes us happy.


Footing the bill as an apology

I have a couple of pushy friends who do this: they will pressure everyone into doing what they want for the night. They’ll make us go to the bar or restaurant they want to go to, and then, they’ll just slip the server their credit card and pay for everyone, hoping that that will make us forget how bossy they were all night. But we didn’t want them to pay for us, at the place we didn’t want to even be at: we wanted to pay for ourselves, at the place we wanted to go to.


A glitzy but miserable relationship

I know a few of these—do you? High-profile, perhaps self-proclaimed power couples. They’re both successful, and at every VIP event. They usually, however, tend to lose focus on the importance of their connection and focus more on bringing the power to the power couple—so they become competitive, and miserable.


Investing money; not time

You don’t really feel like going to your friend’s play, so you just donate to the production of it. You never have dinner at your friend’s restaurant, but when she needs some seed money, you invest. This is all very generous, but you know that it creates a rift between you and your friend—there is a weirdness there because you both know that, ultimately, you just took the easy way out. If you have a lot of money, then handing some over is the easy thing to do. Getting up, going out, standing in line for your friend’s play, sitting through it, and discussing it with her after the is real effort.


When our career takes over

As much as we may try to justify it to ourselves when we miss a family member’s birthday or anniversary party because we had to work, it never quite feels good, does it? You don’t feel proud for staying late at work: you just feel sad for missing time with loved ones.


When we’d rather not talk

Spending time with someone you can’t stand? Like a family member? Maybe you think, “I’ll just keep us busy with activities where we can’t really talk—I’ll buy us movie tickets and massages.” Then what happens at the end of the day? You both feel this weirdness—this sadness—because you didn’t really spend time together. You don’t feel like you got away with one. You feel a little empty.


The perfect but empty home

I have some family members like this. They are very particular about their homes. Everything is expensive and perfect. The place is flawlessly clean. As such, they don’t really like having guests over. They also tend to be miserable and lonely because, well, a messy full house is better than a flawless empty one. Buying all of those nice things didn’t seem to bring them the joy they thought it would—at least not enough joy to compensate for the loneliness.


All the beauty treatments in the world

Think of the people you know who overdo it on beauty treatments. The plastic surgery. The Botox. The extensions. The lip injections. The liposuction. The permanent makeup. I bet you could point to one thing they have in common: they’re not really that happy. That’s because they’re just using beauty treatment as a Band-Aid for some emotional pain.


Paying someone to fix it for us

You get frustrated trying to build that shelf yourself or make that pasta dough all on your own. So you just pay someone to do it for you. Then you feel your stomach drop a little because, more than feeling good that you have the money to pay others to do things for you, you feel bad that you give up so easily.

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