Updated: Jan 9
We are all familiar with the belief that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” But what if we changed the narrative and saw the root of money as a vessel for spreading love? Almost sounds sacrilege, but is it?
What Is Money?
On one level, money is an exchange of value. It’s how much we are willing to pay for something we want. On another level, money also stands for power, position, and prestige.
Can money be used to exchange what we all want and value? Integrity, community, mutual respect, and safety for our families? Can money also stand for love?
But let's first begin with, what is love? The online dictionary describes love as "an intense feeling of deep affection." As a verb, love is "to like or enjoy very much."
Can money be used to spread this intense feeling? Can it be used to express what we like or enjoy very much? We can use our money to show care to others. That could be a community, a person, and even a cause.
Money can be used to show care to another. That could be a community, a person, and even a cause. Here is how:
Money buys us time so we can spend it on people we love.
Research shows that money used to buy material things produce less satisfaction than money spent to free up our time. In this study 60, working adults received $40 to hire a cleaner.
On another weekend, those same individuals got another $40 to purchase material. Buying time led people to experience more positive moods and reduced their time pressure. What better way to show love than your presence?
It would appear that using money to free up time to spend with people we love brings about more love.
Money buys things for the people we love.
Money can provide us with a means to buy things for significant people in our lives. Studies show that we feel happier when spending money on people we love than ourselves.
We get pleasure from spending money on the people we love.
Money spent to help others makes us feel better.
When people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. This was discovered in a 2006 study by Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health.
Money And the Collective Consciousness.
Money allows us to voice what we value. The explosive growth in ethical and socially responsible investments is a testament that the collective voice is speaking loud and clear. And that investors care about the impact their money has on this world. We can decide to spend our money in alignment with what we care about - the health and safety of our communities, corporate transparency, and fairness.
People demand greater accountability from the corporations they are willing to invest in. In this way, money is a conduit for love. If we define love as a verb, then love is to care for the well-being of someone other ourselves.
Money is also an effective vehicle to advance the cause of something greater than ourselves, whether opening a school for underprivileged children or providing vaccines to poorer countries.
Are rich people different from the rest of us? Do people with money have more character flaws? The media is quick to report on the flaws and foibles of famous people. Many famous people also happen to be wealthy. It is no wonder there is a bias that somehow people with money have more character flaws than the average person.
What if we changed the narrative about money and wealth?
Bringing It All Together
Money is not inherently "bad." It's merely paper. Money is the meaning we ascribe to it. And that meaning could be anything we choose: greed, security, power, and even love.
What if we chose to see money as a conduit for love? That money allows us more opportunities to experience and spread love – from the experiences we can buy and share with those we love.
We don't need money to experience or share love, but we can use our money for our causes and the people we love. And we can use it to demonstrate love.
As a child, I would accompany my dad to bring countless boxes of groceries to low-income families. I will never forget the happiness in these people's eyes seeing him show up at the door. And the joy my dad felt at delivering these groceries. As a child, it was evident to me that love is sharing. And that money can be a conduit for love.
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