Money can never make us happy

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In this interview, Francisco Echevarría Summers, University professor, talks about the belief that money brings happiness and where this belief comes from.

In his reflection on whether money brings happiness, Francisco Echevarría Summers dismantles the myth of consumerism that associates the accumulation of goods with happiness.

He stresses that true happiness is not found in the possession of material objects, but in the quality of our relationships, in gratitude, and in the experiences that enrich us as individuals. Through the lens of Positive Psychology, Summers invites us to reevaluate our priorities and focus on what truly contributes to our personal well-being and satisfaction.

In contemporary society, we are constantly bombarded by the mantra of consumerism: “to be happy is to have, and the more I have, the happier I will be”. But is it really true? Can happiness be measured by the amount of things we own? In this article, we will dismantle this myth and explore the true essence of happiness. The Myth of Consumerism and Happiness Today’s consumer economy bombards us with the idea that having is synonymous with happiness.

Advertising campaigns promise us satisfaction through the purchase of goods and services. However, scientific studies have shown that this association between material possession and happiness is weak at best. In fact, the constant quest to have more can lead to chronic dissatisfaction, stress and unhappiness.

Why money does not bring happiness?

In the streets, parks and homes of today’s Spain, there is an echo of resilience that harkens back to challenging times, when post-war and lean times were the norm. Although many decades have passed since that period, the stories of survival, community and resilience continue to resonate in the Spanish collective memory, encouraging constant reflection on the relationship between money and happiness.

Postwar Shortages: When Money Was Insufficient

The period following the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was marked by profound economic shortages. In those years, it was not only the lack of money that was the problem, but also the lack of basic resources, such as food and medicine. Shortages were so palpable that even money could not buy certain things. In these times, Spaniards learned to value the non-material aspects of life: the sense of community, solidarity, mutual help and the small joys of each day. Happiness, then, was found in things that money could not buy.

Values Beyond Money

The suffering and adversity of post-war Spain forged generations of people who understood that happiness did not depend exclusively on money. Family ties, neighborly bonding, culture and traditions became sources of joy and comfort. Music, dancing, shared food, stories told around a table or under the moon were treasures that neither poverty nor scarcity could take away.

Current Reflections on Money and Happiness

Today, Spain, like many other countries, is living in a different reality, with an improved standard of living and a more robust economy. However, the lesson that post-war history has taught us still holds true: money does not bring happiness. According to various psychology and sociology studies, people who value experiences, personal relationships and personal growth over material goods tend to be happier. Money can provide comforts and security, but it cannot buy love, friendship, health, time, or a sense of personal fulfillment.

Looking back to the post-war and lean years in Spain, it is clear that happiness is not found in the accumulation of material wealth, but in human connections, shared experiences and the satisfaction of basic needs. These lessons, learned in difficult times, are still relevant today and remind us that, at the end of the day, money does not bring happiness.

Today, in the modern world, where the pursuit of material goods and money sometimes seems to consume us, remembering our history can be a valuable way to reevaluate our priorities and seek true satisfaction beyond the value of our bank account.

Dismantling the Myth: “To be Happy is to Have and the More I Have, the Happier I Will Be”.

In contemporary society, we are constantly bombarded by the mantra of consumerism: “to be happy is to have, and the more I have, the happier I will be”. But is it really true? Can happiness be measured by the amount of things we own? In this article, we will dismantle this myth and explore the true essence of happiness.

The Myth of Consumerism and Happiness

Today’s consumer economy bombards us with the idea that having is synonymous with happiness. Advertising campaigns promise us satisfaction through the purchase of goods and services. However, scientific studies have shown that this association between material possession and happiness is weak at best. In fact, the constant quest to have more can lead to chronic dissatisfaction, stress and unhappiness.

The Paradox of Happiness

Positive Psychology, a field that focuses on the study of happiness and human well-being, often refers to a phenomenon called “the happiness paradox.” According to this paradox, as our living conditions improve and we acquire more material goods, our expectations and desires also increase. This endless cycle of wanting more can lead us to feel permanently dissatisfied, feeding the false belief that “the more I have, the happier I will be”.

The True Essence of Happiness

Research in the fields of psychology and sociology suggests that happiness is more related to interpersonal relationships, gratitude, the ability to appreciate what we already have, and the experiences that enrich us as individuals, than to the amount of material goods we possess. Experiences, unlike physical objects, become part of our identity and contribute to our personal growth.

“To be happy is to have and the more I have, the happier I will be” is a myth that has been refuted by numerous studies and life experiences. True happiness is found in the quality of our relationships, appreciation for what we have and our life experiences. By dismantling this myth, we can begin to focus on what really matters for our happiness and well-being, rather than constantly seeking more material possessions.

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