He who has more is not rich, but he who needs less

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Robert Maurer
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He who has more is not rich, but he who needs less

Last update: June 30, 2016

Some words of St. Augustine of Hippo remind us that poor is not the one who has less, but the one who needs a lot to be happy. Leaving aside the meaning of "rich" as a person with a large amount of money, the term referred to in the title has to do with the kind of happiness that St. Augustine spoke of centuries ago.



Happiness, in fact, comes from sources that have little or nothing to do with owning a coin. What really enriches us, in fact, has no material value, but mental and physiological value.

A world made of expendable things

Compared to what is reported in the previous paragraph, it should be emphasized that we live in a society that surrounds us with things that can be considered expendable. Through advertising and new technologies, they are making us believe that life revolves around the possession of material objects and that they have the ability to make us happier.

 "They teach us to be producers and consumers, not to be free men"

-José Luís Sampedro-

Yet, that's not how it works: we are no happier than our parents because we have a latest generation smartphone, two cars and three computers in the house. Maybe yes, we live a smoother life, but possessing such items does not fill us as people.

When my sister tells me she "needs" to buy clothes for the new season, even though she already has two wardrobes full of clothes to wear, I wonder to what extent our needs are deceiving us: we tend to give importance to what doesn't deserve attention, forgetting what really matters, until we lose it.



Do I really need it to be happy?

Reading these examples, our closeness to the quotation that opens this article becomes increasingly evident, to the point of wondering how it could have been formulated in the Middle Ages. Yet, this happens because we are unable to answer the question: do I really need it? This is a question that can be asked in many cases.

As we said, we possess so many things that sometimes we forget about those without which we could not live: good physical and soul health, the possibility of having authentic relationships with people who are always by our side or the good fortune of being able to count on a family.

 “Success is about getting what you want. Happiness, on the other hand, in appreciating what you get "

-Waldo Emerson–

All of these things could not even be paid for with all the gold in the world, even if it would be worth it. Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that, paradoxically, these are the things that can enrich us with happiness: no one will feel better than someone who defeats cancer, wins depression or finds in his partner a point of support or a sincere hug, for example. .

Be happy with what you have

It has happened to all of us to feel a sense of frustration for not being able to reach a goal that we had set for ourselves or perhaps because we did not have the object of our desires with us. Usually our needs grow in proportion to the inability to be satisfied with what we have.


Of course, it is not bad to plan goals to reach, since falling into conformity is synonymous with stagnating. However, it is good to keep in mind that happiness will come when we learn to enjoy the whole process and not just the finish.

Desires do not give happiness, they merely adorn it; source of wealth is the ability to feel complete with what we have achieved or what we have given; only in this way will we be able to welcome with gratitude what will come to us free of charge and without warning.


"Happiness is not found, it will come at the right time"

-John F. Bisner Urinating-

Ultimately, it is things without any material value and which come for free that make us really rich, of that wealth we were talking about at the beginning. Money can make our life easy, but only what moves our emotions can make sense.

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