Editor’s note: This is part of 30-day challenge series written by Hanane Anouna. You can follow along and read the full series here.
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“The goal is not to get rich. The goal is to live rich. ” I posted this quote yesterday and one of the comments was “I think to get rich because people respect more money…”
In fact, I was expecting this answer as we are everyday brainwashed by social media, tv, radio, ads, people around us etc. Our decisions are no longer ours. We often set up certain standards just to fit in but they don’t necessarily reflect our aspirations. Most people consciously or not feel more challenged than any time before as they are constantly in search of better opportunities, a better salary or promotion, the most luxurious home, and the fanciest car.
Today, our wealth depends mainly on the acquisitions we have.
My curiosity pushed me further to look at the definition of wealth given by Wikipedia, “ wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or valuable material possessions…A wealthy individual, community, or nation thus has more accumulated resources (capital) than a poor one.”
My goal here is not to contradict Wikipedia. It’s true that I was expecting different categories of definitions, but all of them are strictly related to measurable possessions. This definition may be true for a simple reason: it reflects perfectly our reality. Most of us are focused on materials, possessions, and acquisitions.
This does not deny the importance of being financially comfortable, but it should not be the main daily focus. Achieving both of them is even greater but unfortunately a lot of these people don’t raise their standards when they become financially wealthy, but only their arrogance and pride.
Hopefully, the real wealth is far limited to possessions. How many celebrities have abundance in terms of wealth, but have never experienced true happiness and peace.
My humble experience taught me to value every single thing in life even hardship. I may not change the definition in the minds of others but I can change my own definition in order to live rich.
Financial comfort is not the only way we can achieve wealth or richness as the real one can be reached in a variety of forms. 4 aspects to consider:
1. Self-acceptance: A lot of problems don’t come from the external world but from our lack of acceptance of who we are really and the impact can be very negative if not dramatic on our physical and mental health.
Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia plath, William Holden, Janis Joplin and many others, despite their financial prosperity, could not maintain a healthy life because of non acceptance of their imperfections. They made end to their lives because they had never experienced true happiness.
When faced with a crisis or an adversity, we all go through 5 main stages as explained in the Kubler-Ross Grief cycle. People start with denial expressed in the form of a shock, then anger or resistance as people keep blaming others for their mistakes and their failures. Bargaining is another major stage where the person is unable to face the problem or the crisis and the only alternative left is avoidance until it becomes a depression. There will be no healing unless the person starts accepting the situation or the crisis to move on.
I experienced this cycle many times in my life. I felt in pain, overwhelmed, angry and even depressed, and I always ended up by accepting the situation to move on.
Today I do better as I learned to make it short and accept from the very beginning as time is priceless.
That’s why it is very normal to nurture these emotions of anger, frustration, and so on when challenged, but what is not normal is to extend this phase of resistance and non acceptance without any reason.
You will hurting only yourself.
2. Forgiveness: is not only another form of wealth, but the most important attribute we may have to nurture nowadays. How many of you have a great position, or a high status but unable to go over a grudge, and a deep frustration.
If you cannot forgive others, don’t expect others to forgive you.
Forgiveness can save you from a lot of negative emotions. If you keep nurturing them, you will be the first one to feel bad about yourself.
Forgiveness is also about forgiving yourself for your own mistakes. Perfection is a myth that we may never attain. We should accept to make mistakes, pick up a bad decision, to trust the wrong people or love those who don’t deserve. Life is not a competition but a daily opportunity that can be enhanced by experience as long as we are open to pick up the key learnings.
Neuroscience and positive psychology made a lot of research on this subject and they found out that forgiving releases a lot of positive hormones that can enhance your well-being and boost your optimism.
It can even save you from serious diseases and health complications.
Be kind and don’t forget to forgive those who have hurt you as they may be struggling themselves.
3. The art of giving: when you are giving from your time or your money, you are enhancing your inner wealth, and your self-esteem. You are creating great positive energy that will empower you to give more and feel better about yourself.
The more you give, the more you get. What you get may not be tangible, but the intangible is what counts. It may be a peaceful life, more acceptance of your difficulties, healthy children around you or simply a life without pain… Have you ever helped someone in need or in difficulty? How did you feel about it?
Whenever you act with kindness, your brain triggers ocytocin, a hormone of love and compassion. And whenever you are mean to others, or simply in grudge, your brain will trigger cortisol, a hormone that will impact your immune system and more.
If you cannot help others, at least be kind to them. After all, nothing is eternal even your financial abundance but your inner wealth can make a difference in your life.
4. Be yourself: being one’s self these days has become a real challenge while it should be a natural thing. Being yourself is not being rude to others but developing the ability to be coherent between your inner intention and your actions.
This can be achieved only when we are honest and strive to do what is right independently of the circumstances and people. That’s why it does not matter if you action is appreciated or not as long as it is right and you hold a good intention. What are the benefits?
When you are in coherence with yourself, you develop more self-esteem and improve your confidence. You become more authentic as you will not have to pretend to be someone else.
You even need less energy and effort to convince others when you are authentic. People will trust you more as they will feel it.
Things won’t get better in your life until you change something about it. Consider financial comfort as a mean and not as an objective in your life.
Also, accept yourself and be kind to yourself. Do not let the world make you tough, do not let deceptions make you hate. Do not let the past steal your future. Dare to be yourself.