Does Celebrity Depression Prove That Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness?
Celebrities appear to have it all: fame, money, and a throng of fervent followers – basically everything one aspires for, from the perspective of material life. Despite this, all too often we hear of these very same celebrities suffering from mental illness and deep unhappiness, sometimes even resulting in suicide.
Why is this?
The key lies in rightly understanding the source of constant happiness and genuine peace of mind.
Material pleasures – fame, money, and possessions are by their inherent nature temporary and unfulfilling. For a celebrity, becoming famous is, for a while, very exciting. But after a period, even with the money and fans around, the celebrity generally starts comparing themselves with other celebrities — those in parity. They keep counting and comparing their number of super hits, their social media followers, their relationships, their party outfits, their nominations and the number of awards they’ve won, etc., with the others in the same fraternity, and always remain agitated and unhappy.
Even those who are far ahead in the race, as compared to their competitors, are terribly lonely and unhappy, for they very well realize that most of the people who seem to be very close to them actually have no genuine love for them and are only attracted to their money or their status as a celebrity. This ever-growing race for material things and the disgrace that their relationships bring is a norm for most celebrities. Only those celebrities that do not succumb to these forces of temporary material pleasures, and who instead go seeking for non-monetary happiness in life, are able to escape this sad spiral of discontent and despair.
What then is the source of true happiness?
Money does bring comfort and happiness in one’s life, but by itself, it can never help anyone attain ever-lasting happiness. Celebrity suicides narrate the life-story of the people who aimed high, and who, with their talent and support, even managed to conquer those heights, but they ultimately found it unfulfilling. This proves that even with the enormous amount of money, one cannot buy the kind of happiness that could stop him/her from committing suicide.
So, what does this say to us?
Have you seen a monk on a mountain, having none of the worldly comforts at his disposal? He experiences much more happiness than most celebrities do. Happiness comes from within one’s Self. This happiness is permanent and independent. It flows naturally and perennially.
How can one attain this happiness?
By knowing the answer to the question: ‘who am I?’
To attain true happiness, money is not the answer. Instead, look to realize your Self and know who you really are. And until you get there, engage yourself by doing the following:
- Never fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others. Try to make the most of what you already have. And be happy for those who you think are more successful than yourself. Celebrate their success and see if you can learn from them.
- Have an inner intention to never cause pain to any living being through your thoughts, words, or actions. Having this inner intent, you begin to experience internal peace of mind. As the saying goes, if you want to be happy, then make others happy. If you want to be unhappy, then make others unhappy.
- But if you do happen to hurt others, then immediately ask forgiveness from the person you may have hurt. The result of this is two-fold. The person you may have hurt will feel the good effect of your apologies, and you too will feel lighter by asking for forgiveness. This is known as pratikraman; it brings beautiful results. Try it!
- Remain optimistic in every situation, and with everyone. Try to focus on the good aspects of life. Even when things seem difficult, remain positive. This will automatically influence a positive result.
- Use your money wisely, and to serve others. Always try to donate a little amount, no matter how little, for a good cause. At the least, maintain a sincere intention to contribute whenever you are able to. Also, help others who are less fortunate through your kindness by feeding them, providing clothing, or by just giving them a reason to smile.
- Above all, understand that your unhappiness is directly linked to you being ignorant of your real Self. The reason for any suffering will find its roots in the wrong understanding of ‘who am I?’.
The wrong understanding of ‘who am I?’ gives rise to ego, whereas the right understanding of, ‘I am a Pure Soul’ gives rise to absolute humility in you. Ego always leads to suffering, whereas where there is humility, there springs fountain of happiness, the real and permanent happiness!!
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