“They” say that money isn’t everything…but who’s they? The people with the money?

The Dalai Lama once said that “These days, in our materialistic culture, may people are led to believe that money is the ultimate source of happiness. Consequently, when they don’t have enough of it they feel let down. Therefore, it is important to let people know that they have the source of contentment and happiness within themselves, and that it is related to nurturing our natural inner values.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Earl Wilson said, ” Always remember, money isn’t everything-but also remember to make a lot of it before talking such fool nonsense.”

So, who’s right? How important is money in our lives? How important is money to our happiness? I am sitting here browsing through all these wise and quippy quotes about money. The trend that draws my attention is that every quote that belittles the possession of money or summizes that it is insignificant, seems to be made by a very wealthy or famous person. The rest of quotes that address the fact that some financial backing is essential to survival seem to be made by everyone else.

Interesting. I think all of them are correct actually. Once you have achieved fame and fortune, money becomes less important because you already have it. You already have a foundation. The struggle is over. For the rest of us, we realize that human beings need money to pay for all the things that make your life possible. You need it to pay for your basic needs like healthcare, food, and shelter. That is just a fact. Having more money gives a person more choices and comes with more autonomy in their own lives. Can money buy happiness? Well, I think we have answered that question with a resounding no over the ages. Money cannot buy happiness. I am sure there are miserable millionaires everywhere.

There are some plot twists though. There are studies that show that, while having enough money for basic needs and provide a safety net is essential to well being, having additional income may not actually increase wellbeing and may even have a negative impact. Here are some statistics.

A study was done looking at per capita income in the United States from 1946 to 1990. Per capita income rose 150%, yet the percentage of people who reporting being happy fell significantly and depression rates rose ten fold. People who won large sums of money with lotteries were not actually happier a year later and had more daily dissatisfaction. The University of Minnesota did a nine experiment series that showed that when people are thinking about money, they isolate themselves from others. Money made people want to be free of dependents, be less helpful to others. When people compared themselves economically to others it only caused distress. Well, none of that sounds good.

So, why think about money so much? It does allow for some instant gratification possibilities. It does help provide for our basic needs, but we have shown that it doesn’t buy happiness. In fact, we have shown that sometimes too much of it can make things worse. I think it is not realistic to say that it doesn’t matter at all. That is not really possible. I just think that it can’t be your primary focus all the time. It’s too disruptive mentally and physically. There are other things that matter more like relationships, purpose, and happiness. Within reason, I think over focusing on money should take a back seat to those.

Dr. Katz

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

As you may or may not know, I am an ObGyn who also practices aesthetic medicine. We perform all kinds of procedures that tighten, get rid of fat, get rid of hair, tone, fill, contract muscles, etc. We like to post pictures of results to celebrate a patient’s success. Invariably, it seems that someone has to comment negatively that the procedures are not necessary or that they didn’t work or that the patient did not need them. I am never sure what the intent is of doing this? Is it telling the patient that they were not worth investing in themselves? Is it undermining their confidence? Is it telling them that they should not invest in their own sense of beauty? Or are they just trying to interfere with our business and our services? In any case, none of these reasons are healthy or positive and I really wish that people would refrain. All they are doing is causing potential hurt to the patient. I am just not sure that they understand that.

So, let’s talk a little bit about beauty. What does the word beauty mean? What does it mean to feel beautiful? The Oxford dictionary defines beauty as a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. It also describes beauty as a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense. And finally, it states that beauty denotes something intended to make a woman more attractive.

I think that it is truly difficult to define beauty because it has both subjective and objective counterparts. The concept of beauty as a property of something is the objective part, but it also depends on the emotional response of the observer, whether it is the person themselves or an outside observer. You see, it’s both.

So, who is to say what is beautiful and what isn’t? I suppose that we all think of certain qualities that are essential to all beautiful things like proper proportion, harmony, radiance, pleasure, and value. But, even these qualities can be subjective. There are no absolute measurements for any of them. It’s similar to that one saying that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure . What is beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to someone else. It is ultimately up to the individual to decide. This also applies to someone’s decision to invest in themselves to feel more beautiful. So, the next time you think about making a negative comment, please don’t. All you are doing is hurting the patient’s feelings. Nothing more.

Dr. Katz