Poverty =

After several years of self-maturing, I learned that happiness is not brought through consumption, more money/wealth, more friends, more popularity etc. That saying, happiness is not a product of your environment but your environment is a product of your happiness. There is no relationship between elation and your “things”. With that, there is a common misconception of this world that the “poor man” is not happy.

Mass media has portrayed poverty as a discouraging, unlivable and disgusting lifestyle. We see children, families, masses in commercials suffering in regions of world only to feel saddened by their “unluckiness”. Yet don’t be fooled that these people aren’t happy. Societies in developed countries have indicated that one can be unhappy, depressed, even dissatisfied with their lifestyle that consists of wealth, friends, fortune, fame, and etcetera. Why do we find said people living a “dream” facing depression therefore? Societies in developed countries have indicated that a meal on your plate three times a day and 4-6 figure salaries doesn’t indicate that you’re happy. Quite often you hear friends, bystanders, family stating “how tough their lives are”, how some people question their purpose, their existence, how they’re lonely, how life doesn’t seem worth it (I believe it is).I am not saying that such struggles are childish because “kids are starving in Africa”, everyone has problems; mine are not bigger than yours, yours are not bigger than mine. Life in most developed countries can get tough despite earning thousands of dollars of years. In America for example, GDP per capita is simply a statistic, look beyond that and one can understand the struggles of the average American. Heavy taxes, paying for housing, overprice gasoline, food, paying for your children’s 5 digit college fees (as well as paying off their own). It’s not easy.

Now why are lifestyle’s in poorer regions in the world seen as depressing and discouraging when people in developed countries struggle with their life as well? (*note: comparing the struggle of a parent in Ethiopia to a parent in America is impossible; struggle and unhappiness are unquantifiable*).  I may speak generally when I say this, but poverty ≠ unhappiness (like math this equation is not consistent in the universe, but it is true in some instances).  One can earn less than $1000 dollars a year, support a family of four and be happy. Yes happy. Said people are those who unknowingly understood what the reality of happiness could/should be.  The reality of your happiness does not only have to consist of tangible objects that indicate wealth and satisfaction but objects which one can see with their eyes closed.

We’d like to be painters; we’d like to be poets. We’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows we can’t earn any money that way. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him you do that…..and uhm, forget the money. If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.- Alan Watts

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