Remove Greed, You’ll Be Filled With Happiness
— Comparison between you and others and too much greed will bring unhappiness. If you want to be happy, be content.
On the New Year’s Day, people give all different answers about their wishes for the New Year, but their ultimate wish is all the same: It is to live a happy life. The criteria of happiness vary depending on people. Some people think they can be happy if they have much money, and some think they can if they have much fame, and some believe that having power will give them happiness.
However, Jay Gould, a millionaire, said before he died, “I believe that I am the most pitiful person in the world.” Emperor Napoleon who conquered Europe confessed, “I only had six days of my life when I was actually happy.” Jimmy Carter, a former U.S. President, responded to the question about his happiest day of his life, “Now I have left the White House, and I have never been happier.” Many people chase money, fame, and power, to become happy. However, people who possessed them said they weren’t happy with those. It is truly ironic.
One clear fact is that happiness is not dependent on any outer condition. Happiness is inside the heart. That is why happiness is something that cannot be lost or stolen.
Greed causes more greed
Once upon a time, there was a hard-working and diligent couple living in a small village. One day, the husband bought a goose at a market with the money he earned by selling grains. They woke up the next morning and saw that the goose had laid a golden egg. Thanks to the goose that laid a golden egg every morning, the couple became rich and didn’t have to work anymore. However, the couple became greedy, and began to complain, “Why doesn’t that silly goose lay more than one egg a day?”
Then the wife came up with an idea. She said, “If we cut open the goose’s belly, we will find many golden eggs in it!” The husband agreed with her, and they ended up cutting open the goose’s belly. However, there was nothing inside, and the couple was devastated by the death of the goose.
Like this foolish couple from Aesop’s Fables, people’s greed has no end. The more they have, the more they want. One of the greetings people share these days is, “Become rich!” It is not hard to see a family whose relationship breaks because they have become more materialistic. Siblings go to the court for the matter of inheritance, and quite many people commit immoral crimes against their parents for money.
Some people say that they work their tails off and make money for the happiness of their children. They believe that the more they have, the better they can raise their children, and that the more wealth they give to their children, the happier their children’s future will be. All parents want to do everything for their children, and give them only the best things. However, you do not need to feel disheartened even if you can’t. When your children grow up and become mature, they will fathom your heart and laugh together with you, thinking of the good and old memories of their childhood. What the children truly need to inherit is not wealth, but a thankful heart that gives thanks even for small matters and the secret to make themselves and their neighbors feel happy and abundant with gratefulness.
Happiness disappears the moment you compare yourself with others
Which athlete do you think would feel happier, a silver medalist or a bronze medalist? Shouldn’t the one who won a silver medal feel happier? However, a study carried out by Victoria Medvec, a social psychologist, showed that athletes who won bronze medals were happier with their winning than those who won silver medals. Bronze medalists were simply happy to receive honor and stand on the podium instead of no medal, whereas silver medalists were not satisfied at the thought that they narrowly missed gold medals. It means that they lost their joy as they compared themselves with gold medalists.
Comparing oneself with someone else always makes him feel belittled and unhappy. If you get jealous when something good happens to your acquaintance, it will be painful to you. If you only focus on other people’s appearances, wealth, and abilities, you cannot see yourself and your family’s true nature.
If you only compare your family with other family and think, ‘Her husband helps her with housework,’ ‘His parents buy him whatever he wants,’ ‘My friend’s son is really smart,’ and so on, then you will only feel unhappy about your family. A happy person is content with whatever he has. He who is content with his life is not a person without any will or hope; he is the one who is not influenced by other people or the environment, but finds his own happiness and walks that path joyfully.
Trying to change your family the way you want is greed, too
Can you change your family? I’m not saying to exchange them with some other people of course, but to change them the way you want them to be or to make them live the way you want them to live. The answer is no. Such an attempt is meaningless. Everybody has a different taste, habit, and way of talking. As a saying goes, “What is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb,” a man’s character is made from his childhood, or maybe, he was born with it. So, trying to change someone as you want is just greed, and it will only bring more conflicts if you don’t get rid of that greed.
Not a few parents give excessive education to their children without listening to their opinions, or control every little matter of them, even the things that they should decide, and want them to follow the parents. Parents’ such greed makes their children unhappy. Some parents do not even allow their children’s marriage, for the reason that the person they want to marry does not satisfy their standards or conditions. All that the parents need to do is to support their children in cultivating their own lives. Emphasizing that and encouraging them to be responsible is the way to help them.
As a husband or a wife, you should not hate your spouse just because she or he doesn’t follow your will. You’d better treat her or him with a generous heart. Even though you see unpleasant things about your spouse that you haven’t recognized before, don’t just regret or blame yourself—“I was just blinded by love at that time!”—but try to look at her or him with the eyes of affection and consideration. Then you will be able to see more virtues than shortcomings.
Everybody dreams for an ideal family. A gentle father, a wise mother, good-natured children who love each other, an amiable daughter-in-law, a trustworthy son-in-law . . . However, just as there is no perfect man in this world, not all the family members can be perfect in your eyes. You can’t pick and choose your family as if you pick and choose at a mall. A family shares a relationship related by blood and love. Therefore, you need to acknowledge your family as they are.
What can be happier than being loved by someone you love? The ones you love most and you want to be loved by most must be your family. So, please do not try to change your family whom you love so much as you want, but be thankful that they are with you, and be joyful to be able to help each other, surviving this tough world.
Somebody said, “Happiness is to look at flowers in the field. However, people think happiness is to pick flowers and have them in their hands. That’s why happiness begins to wither as soon as they grab it.” If you feel unhappy right now, see whether or not you are trying to pick flowers in the field. Be thankful that you can see the flowers moving in the wind, and be content with the fact that you are with people whom you can share their fragrance with. Then, a more beautiful flower will bloom in your heart. It is the flower that doesn’t wither. It is called happiness.