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Day 36: For Love or Money

“Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and enlivens the other who turns it on his fellow man.” -Kahlil Gibran

Money matters. People who live in societies with more wealth are happier than people who live in impoverished nations. This is not a surprising finding that happiness and the ability to meet your basic needs go hand in hand. Yet, this direct relationship between money and happiness does not hold up the richer you get. Being able to add more short-lived pleasures to your life because you have more money does not equal happiness. At the same time, losing the long term comforts of a certain lifestyle is likely to decrease both your happiness and security. 

The paradox is that as we become accustomed to a level of comfort, we take it for granted and it no longer is associated with our happiness. As our income increases, its added contribution to life satisfaction becomes smaller. The impact of additional income is greatest among those who have little money, but it does not stop mattering, even after someone is able to meet basic needs.

Even more interesting is a trio of studies that were published in 2008 in Science magazine which showed one main finding- that having more money brings happiness when we spend it on other people and not on ourselves. Finding a generous place in our hearts whether it is with our love or our money is a great teacher. Like that song about the magic penny, the more you give it away, the more you have. Wealth is a reflection of what we have inside us.

“Money is neither my god nor my devil. It is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving.” This quote by Dan Miliman is the most positive place I can land on as I work to create a foundation that will allow money to flow in my work of making the world a more loving place. It may not show up yet in my Quickbooks reports but I trust this quest to show me where to find it.