Can Money and Success Satisfy the Soul?

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I was thinking about this the other day as my graduate school nears the end and I begin thinking about my future career. There are so many choices to weigh as far as careers go, especially in the psychology/social work field. Should I choose a job that pays well but is not so enjoyable, so that my day-to-day may be a little less joyful, but I’m able to afford vacations, self-care, nice dinners out. ? Which will make me happier, or is there a balance?

It is fairly accepted that processed foods, artificial ingredients, and genetically-modified foods don’t sustain our bodies in a healthy way. The logic behind this is that these “foods” were created, fabricated by us, however our bodies were designed long before GMO’s and processed foods were even conceived. Our bodies need real foods, whole foods, because we were created in harmony with the environment; to nourish and sustain the plants in exchange for nourishment and sustenance from them.

Can the same be true of success and money for our souls? Money and success were basically fabricated, created by us in the same way that processed foods and GMO’s came about.  Can money and success satisfy our souls, or just feed our egos? Does a certain level of comfort give us happiness, because if the answer is “yes”, then money does contribute to happiness at some level. I have been wrestling with these questions this entire year, thinking ahead to what I want for my future while I try to set my intentions for the rest of the year.

Then I heard a Macklemore song  titled “Make Money” from the Heist album that totally put things into perspective for me. The chorus of the song says “make money, don’t let the money make you. Change the game, don’t let the game change you. Stay true.” Cheesy as this may seem, I had an “aha” moment. A reoccurring theme in my writings, ideas, and values has always been to stay true to who I am, and to maintain my integrity as a person, as a professional, and as I set my goals. If I allow money to determine what choices I make, I allow money to make me, to change me and then become changed because of the “game” that society has created. I must stay true to myself. I can’t give money power over me, because I don’t believe that it will ultimately nourish my soul. My goal in life is to stay true to who I am, to seek jobs/activities that feed my passion, and to continue in my efforts to minimize the power that I give fear, money, power, and material goods in my life. This is a struggle that I believe I will always battle, and that everyone who has similar goals and values will always battle. It is not easy to stay true to yourself. It is not easy to maintain sight of your true values when every media outlet works to influence these values. It is not easy to sacrifice comfort for passion, but I believe that this path will lead to the least amount of regret. We are able to make choices everyday regarding what part of ourselves we want to feed by the activities we engage in, the food we eat, the people we surround ourselves with and the thoughts we think. I feel fortunate to have the luxury of pondering such questions that many people living in third world countries never get to think about. It is both a luxury, and a responsibility to have enough that I can afford to give up some. It is also a freedom that many American’s don’t realize. We have the freedom to choose whether we want to follow our passions and to seek experiences that nourish our soul because we have enough to nourish our basic needs. Every choice you make feeds some part of yourself and you have the power to choose which parts you want to feed.

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