Do money and fame buy happiness?
What makes people happy?
If you were to ask, most people would most likely say that being famous and having lots of money are the keys to happiness.
After all, famous people are adored by their fans. Rich people have lifestyle which most people aspire to. They live in nice houses, drive luxury cars, take expensive vacations, and can buy almost everything they want.
However a quick look at the entertainment news might make you change your mind out the notion that fame and fortune are the keys to happiness.
The number of famous, rich people who wind up in rehab, have multiple divorces and get into trouble with the law suggest that being well known and having lots of money is not a guarantee of happiness.
The attention seeking behaviour some of them engage in will even make you wonder at their sanity.
What guarantees happiness?
According to a by Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development the key to happiness is to have good relationships, especially with your spouse, if you are married.
The more friendships you have, the happier and healthier you are. Conversely, the lonelier you happen to be, the less happy and less healthy you are likely to be.
The sheer number of relationships is not sufficient to guarantee happiness. It is the quality of your relationships that is important.
You probably know people who are trapped in bad marriages, but stay in them because of the children, out of habit, or out of fear of being alone.
“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” Baltasar Gracian
The best way to achieve happiness is to be in a good, happy marriage. In that way, you have a life partner whom you can rely on; who understands you, warts and all, but still loves you all the same.
A good marriage does not eliminate all of life’s problems, but instead makes them more bearable.
The Harvard study which has been on-going since the late 1930s, concluded that having good relationships fosters not only happiness, but good health and better brain function even late into life.
Also, when health problems do occur, knowing that you have other people to rely on makes them more bearable and easier to overcome.
Watch the Robert Waldinger talk about his study.
“A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself — to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.”
Leo F. Buscaglia