Which is the best way to be fulfilled and happy?
These days, we’ve been led to believe that we can achieve a permanent state of happiness from the advances in technology and ensuing changes in society that allow people to live much more comfortably than their ancestors ever did; “paradise is here” seems to be the lesson! Although sayings like “money can’t bring you happiness”; “sex is not that important in a good marriage” or “it’s possible to happily single” are still popular to some, what the current culture truly advocates is the absolute opposite.
After all, people notice the glow and look of joy of couples in love, and want to experience the same feelings; they are told about the glamorous life of the rich and famous, and can’t help but imagine how happy they must be. They also see people who are more spontaneous and seductive, who are better at flirting succesfully, and figure their relationships are more intense than anything they could ever experience.
So where to start? Should people try to find love or money first? Which matters most for our happiness? And what about sex, how does it factor in the search for happiness? A good answer is, the most important thing is the one that’s missing. If we have nothing, all items are equally important. If someone is happy in love but poor, their financial situation will be their main focus. The human psyche is interesting, as it concerns itself mostly with what it does not have; it seems like it was built to solve problems—the ill only think of recovering their health, just as people with money problems focus on regaining financial stability. Lonely people may obsess about finding a partner, and the ones who have a drab, repetitive sex life daydream of exciting, erotic experiences. Once these issues are solved, they lose importance.
On the other hand, unlike love, it seems like money is never enough; there is such an atmosphere of financial competition in current society that people always feel like they are losing out to someone else they know.
That said, people who have just money, but not love, pine for affection, and to those in a good relationship, but without money, the financial aspect is hugely important. The fact is that our desires aren’t interchangeable; the lack of love or sex can’t be solved with a high dosage of money or prestige, and vice-versa, just like a body lacking in vitamin B will not benefit from a shot of vitamin C. People need some of each.
A final warning: when people dream about what’s missing, they dream about the delights of having what they lack, not realizing that, if they do achieve their goals, the joy will not last long. It only lasts during the transition from a lesser state to a better one; after that, one gets used to the new situation, and it becomes the new normal. The good news is that this rule also applies to unfavorable events; the pain of loss lessens after the transition.
Tradução: Amanda Morris