Damn That Little Green-Eyed Monster!

I looked up the word greed this morning, for personal reasons:

Greed: A strong desire for more; an overwhelming desire to have
more of something, such as money, than is actually needed.

I had been thinking of the financiers who manipulate financial documents, or the oil and pharmaceutical companies, or stock traders, as greedy. I was thinking of their greed as the straw that broke our economy’s back and that’s probably true. I was surprised, though, that greed meant simply to desire more than is needed. Greed is a noun, but it is also a state of mind.

I recently moved to a city where my son plays college football. I have a two bedroom apartment so that family and friends who come to a home game will have a place to stay. It’s okay that I want to see them, that I want them to stay with me. That’s what families do.

But, I began to obsess about curtains for the living and dining room windows to cover the yellowed vertical blinds. I decided on sheers to let some light in, pale gold in color. My towels are old and bleached in some spots and don’t match the bathroom rugs. I feel embarrassed by this. The lampshades are from 15 years ago, dark maroon in color, so I wanted some lighter gold shades to match the sheers. I added to the list a small white shade for the table-lamp by my bed, so I could trade the current too-big lampshade for the dark-maroon one in the guest room. I only have flannel sheets for the queen bed in the guest room, and it’s been 105-108 degrees for the last week. Flannel sheets are a punishment here. All I could see is what I believe I lacked and I didn’t want to LACK those things anymore. I WANTED THEM. I didn’t want to be ‘poor’ anymore and that was final!

Meanwhile, thoughts like, “The blinds are fine. Your towels are fine. Your family loves you. They don’t care about that stuff,” came and went. Or, “You have a roof over your head—a home. You have a kitchen and bathroom, even a washer and dryer! You have everything you need. There are so many who don’t.”

Of course, the more conflicted I was, the more stressed I became. I fell into self-pity and ate two chocolate donuts at one time and wanted to eat another. I ate it the next morning and my body, ever willing to be the messenger, offered up an asthma attack. “You suck!” I thought. (I know—my inner child was in monster-mode.) I woke up this morning with crusty eyes and the message, “Helloooo. You’re seeing is warped. Today is a good day to let go.” And at last, I did.

Today is also a good day for me to bare my soul and share what I’ve learned about greed. It’s not about curtains or towels. It is not about gold coins or the level of the riches we desire. Anyone can experience the negative emotion that takes over when we demand more than we need and pout when we don’t get it. For the record, the opposite of greed is gratefulness and that’s the place of abundance.

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8 thoughts on “Damn That Little Green-Eyed Monster!

  1. Your honesty is inspiring. Take some comfort however, Pam. We North Americans have been about the most spoilt in the world for at least the last 100 years, and have been raised to take too much for granted – indeed our right!

    Wake up folks – ‘the times they are a’changing’! Michael.

    • The times must change. Way too much out of balance. So few have so much and so many, millions, struggle to get water and food. Still no excuse for the green-eyed monster…Thanks, Michael.

  2. Gratefulnesss is the opposite of Greed….such wonderful phrase. I shall remember it. And continue to do my Thank you, God’s…..every day….a lot…and I do.
    Thank you for this reminder!!!

  3. I can certainly relate to this. As a mom of teens who want so much more than we did at their age, I have also thought a lot about how our economic system is designed around creating wants, and creating a sense of dissatisfaction with self that can only be addressed by consuming new products. When surrounded by people with job security, pensions and benefits, it easy to feel financially insecure. And yet, when I think about the millions who don’t have the basic necessities, our wants seem obscene. Good for you for stalking your self on this. Kp

    • Hi KP, Thank you for stopping by and for commiserating. 🙂
      I particularly noted consumer addiction that came without satisfaction, through my children. I don’t remember the exact year, but by elementary school they’d REALLY WANT particular things and be really excited on birthdays and Christmas mornings–then shortly thereafter set or toss the items aside. They might look for it again at some point but it seemed to me that in most cases it wasn’t the item itself, but rather receiving what they wanted that was important. (My guilt-button was, “Pete and Mike and Carly have them and they’re not rich!”) Their indifference didn’t apply to basketballs and footballs and sports stuff, or electronic devices, but I had some heated discussions with my middle- schoolers/early high-schoolers that, “I don’t care that this or that phone is out. You will keep the one you have for now!” I admit electronic devices are tempting–after Kindles came out I REALLY wanted one. The desire passed, but it was hard. 🙂

  4. Hello Pam:

    Before I even got to the end and read your conclusion; What came to my mind, was gratefulness for what we have in this life is the cure for the greed infection or virus that has reached epidemic proportions in our world.

    A nice and honest sharing. Thanks.

    Kindest regards,
    Mike

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