“In a long-term study published in the Journal of Family Psychology they found that fortifying family ties, not making more money was the best way to become a happier person.”
Excerpt from “The New American Family.”
The interesting thing about media, our most modern art form, is that it reflects back at us who we are and what we believe. And while we believe that family, friendship, integrity, service and a strong work ethic makes us happy, there is one ingredient to happiness that overshadows the rest:
Money makes us happy.
Whether you are watching an episode of MTV cribs or a Flo Rida music video, happy, sexy, wealthy people are paraded in front of you without a care in the world. We live in a generation that truly believes that money can buy happiness and has lost the value of family and relationships in the search for happiness.
Maybe this is easy for me to say because I don’t worry about money. I have my own business, I sleep in a comfortable bed and I never have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. But I’ve also lived in poverty where there was no money to buy food and dated fabulously wealthy people and traveled the world and I can tell you this:
It’s relationships that make us happy.
Money can add happiness to your life, and can prevent certain unhappiness, but true bonheur is in lasting, functional, healthy family relationships where you are valued and loved. Just look at what happens to wealthy children who are not raised in healthy families: psychological fucked-up-ness. Children don’t attach to parents that don’t validate their feelings and experiences, and they grow up to repeat those unhealthy relationships again and again. It’s not money that makes us happy, it’s healthy relationships. Academia and some of the best universities in the country tell us that the people who are the happiest, the healthiest and live the LONGEST are those in continuous, loving relationships. These are the kind of relationships where you know that someone has your back and will be there for you no matter what, or what we generally recognize as family.
Family for most of us refers to having children, as the level of joy they bring to one’s life (not without the challenges, of course) is incomparable to any other relationship. They are an opportunity to create loving relationships the way many of us didn’t experience as children, and for some of us, to recreate what was one of the best times in our life. They also ensure the continuity of one’s loving relationships, one’s family, as grandparents, parents, siblings and friends begin to die of old age.
Life experienced alone brings certain beautiful things, there’s no doubt. Artistically, personally, spiritually, many of those things evolved in my life while I was alone. But what happened to me when my family came alone, well that is where the real magic was always waiting for me. I just had to have a baby and start my family to find it.