Lately, I’ve been thinking about greed. It is one of the seven deadly sins in Christian theology along with pride, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. I think it’s safe to say they all sound like behavior we should avoid: the hunger of greed, self-importance of pride, weakness of lust, pain of envy, physical turmoil of gluttony, blindness of anger, and wastefulness of sloth.
I’ve never found myself drawn to greed. I prefer collaboration to competition. I’ve been known to throw my whole head back when I laugh and enjoy the indulgences of good food or wine, but if I have a dollar, nothing makes me happier than giving away fifty cents. Some people might think that’s foolish, but it makes me feel great. It feeds my spirit.
Now that greed has reared its head in my family, it’s made me wonder. If people can have gambling, sex, porn, and hoarding addictions, can greed also be a mental illness? In my work as a self-actualization coach, I often say, “There is no pie.” The Universe is abundant. There are more than enough resources to support the planet’s population. For example, if I reach my goal of selling a million books this year, it doesn’t prevent other authors from also selling a million books. Perhaps the market for books will expand so that ALL authors can sell a million books if they want to. It’s not impossible, especially with the advent of e-books.
I know, despite the world’s abundance, many people live in poverty, especially in developing countries. I realize some of us are working with limited resources in our local environments. However, greed tends to be a quality of the haves, not the have-nots. Statistically speaking, people with less are known to give more. Psychology Today published a lovely story of a woman living in deep poverty in the Indian countryside who shares a meal with a stranger. It’s anecdotal but relays a real truth.
According to the Psychology Today article, greedy people are more likely to be well-to-do, lacking in compassion, and focused on future-planning. According to an article in whywesuffer.com, “Both narcissism and greed have their roots in profound self-doubt. Narcissism is self-aggrandizement of the emotional kind, while greed is self-aggrandizement of the materialistic kind. Narcissism (when it occurs as pervasive grandiosity) is listed as a mental disorder in psychiatry’s diagnostic manual. Why not greed? It should also be listed in the manual. Narcissists and the greedy compensate for their self-doubt by giving themselves an inflated sense of importance, while they project on to others their own repressed feelings of unworthiness.”
The remarkable (and sad) thing is that greed leads to loneliness. All that clamoring for stuff, all that manipulation to get what you want alienates the people around you. You find yourself the queen in a village of one. For those of us with spiritual beliefs, you create the cause for terrible future actions, what some call negative Karma.
I’m working on my compassion for those who intentionally harm me.
It’s not easy work.
I encourage you to spend your energy working with integrity, living with joy and practicing kindness and compassion. Some say “Nice guys finish last,” but at least we finish. Greed devours everything around it, and, in doing so, eats itself from the inside out. I’ll have to take a pass on that.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo outlines the spiritual principles of reiki. It’s a wonderful daily reminder of a well-lived life. If you want to read the full referenced articles, click here https://whywesuffer.com/greed-as-a-mental-health-disorder/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201711/why-people-who-have-less-give-more If you want to maintain your mental health and minimize your risk for narcissism, greed, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, check out my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings. I nestled so much wisdom into that little book. And, get ready for my new release coming in November, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes and Questions to Juice Up Your Journey. Learn more at https://honeybutterflyz.com/books