So what will make us all happy?

It’s not cash and fancy items... ap­par­ently

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sar­wat Nasir @Sar­watNasir

Fast cars, flash clothes and fancy hand­bags - the sort of lux­u­ries that bring a smile to our faces, right?

Wrong, ac­tu­ally, at least ac­cord­ing to a lead­ing UAE so­ci­ol­o­gist.

Dr Mona Al Ba­har, the act­ing CEO of the Al Jalila Cul­tural Cen­tre for Chil­dren, told the Pos­i­tive En­ergy Fo­rum in Dubai yes­ter­day that in­vest­ing in ma­te­rial things and want­ing to show off will not make peo­ple happy.

She said that “in­ner hap­pi­ness can­not be found by con­stantly want­ing to boost your ego with ex­pen­sive hand­bags and cars”.

The fo­rum drew to­gether gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions in an ef­fort to work out how best to make peo­ple happy.

The event, which was or­gan­ised by the Direc­torate of Res­i­dency of For­eign Af­fairs, is the first such fo­rum to be held since the UAE es­tab­lished a Min­istry for Hap­pi­ness ear­lier this year. It comes just a week af­ter a se­nior Min­istry of In­te­rior of­fi­cial urged peo­ple to stop gos­sip­ing and be­ing grumpy at work.

The UAE gov­ern­ment be­lieves that the hap­pier peo­ple are, the more pro­duc­tive they will be.

Al Ba­har, though, said the path to pos­i­tiv­ity was not via peo­ple splash­ing their cash. She said: “If we think about how we can reach in­ner peace within our­selves, you have to say ‘I will not dress in a cer­tain way to im­press some­one or buy ex­pen­sive cars to make them think I am rich’. “The in­ter­nal con­flict of each time when we try to make our­selves feel pos­i­tive, but we fail, is be­cause we are not in har­mony. We are too busy buy­ing ex­pen­sive clothes and cars. “On a daily ba­sis, we are seek­ing to please the ego - till we reach the stage where we are ex­ag­ger­at­ing that we are the best. The more ego you have, the less happy you are be­cause it’s a con­stant need for praise. With­out get­ting your hand­bags praised, your car praised, you feel un­happy. “The ques­tion is how many of you can sit alone some­where for hours and just read a book with­out be­ing dis­tracted or feel­ing anx­ious? If you can do that com­fort­ably, then you can find in­ner peace. “We also have to ask ‘how much time do we spend feed­ing our ego? Hap­pi­ness is ei­ther in­ter­nal or does not ex­ist.”

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