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You probably don’t consider yourself a greedy person.
You live simply. You don’t steal or cheat. You give and are generous with your time and resources.
In a world where examples of spectacular individual and corporate greed abound, you may feel like an outright saint in comparison.
An unbridled desire for money, power, status, or fame can drive people to cause serious harm to themselves and others.
Though lust for money and power are hallmark signs of greed, they only begin to scratch the surface.
What’s the real driving force behind our greed? Who qualifies as greedy? What if greed is less about money or status and more about the stories you tell yourself about who you are and what you’re worth?
Are you starving yourself of all the riches life has on offer?
Are you enough?
The desire to have more to the point of greed is often said to come from the feeling of not having enough.
A person can have all the money in the world and still relentlessly pursue more. A person can be loved generously by a friend, yet feel like they need to control that person to make themselves the only object of their affection.
The mantra, “You are enough,” says that you are lovable just the way you are. You don’t need any more money, material goods, or attention to feel loved.
This is a powerful idea. However, do you ever get the feeling that in order to be enough you have to settle?
Do you ever find yourself secretly saying, “Yea it’s good to be enough, but I actually want to be more than enough.”He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have - Socrates.
If you don’t have these thoughts, the “enough” mantra will work for you. If you do, you probably keep it a closely guarded secret lest the world discovers how greedy and ungrateful you are. And you are starving yourself of all the possibilities and opportunities that are your birthright.
But the truth is that you’re not greedy or ungrateful for having these thoughts.
You’re simply hungry to discover the real you. The real you cannot be measured in terms of “enough” versus “not enough.” The real you is infinite.
When have you ever heard someone say, “God is enough” or “the universe is enough” or “the ocean is enough?”
Instead, God is all powerful, the universe is infinite, and the ocean is vast.
If you consider yourself a child of the universe, then you too are infinite. But we resist this because it sounds too grandiose for our more measured tastes. But the soul knows better.
Stop starving yourself
In the Greek myth of Narcissus, an extraordinarily beautiful youth falls in love with himself after seeing his reflection in a pool of water.
On fearing that he would lose sight of his image, he stayed at the edge of the pool till he died of starvation.
What was he starving for? Something he already possessed, he just didn’t know it.
Greed works kinda like that. We become greedy when we hand over our infinite selves to finite things.
And the saddest part is that we don’t even know the value of what we’re handing over in the first place, or that we’re even making an exchange.
So many of us live our whole lives never realizing that we’re the ones creating our environment, our value, our wealth. And the wealth inside of us is meant to be shared with others.
Instead, you find that you’re starving yourself on the edge of our societal reflecting pool, pining for images of yourself that are fitter, richer, sexier, and smarter.
By our greed and self-absorption, we starve ourselves of the happiness, joy, and well-being we could be experiencing right now. We starve the world of all the riches inside of us that we have to offer.
You already have it
Is it possible to cure your greed?
If the “I am enough” mantra is not helping you curb your endless desire for more, try this mantra instead:
When you’re tempted to chase a job for more money or prestige, say to yourself, “I already have it.”
When you’re tempted to game the system, say “I already have it.”
When you’re tempted to act out in jealousy toward your partner, say “I already have it.”
When you’re sad because you didn’t get more likes on Facebook, say “I already have it.”
Stop choosing to live in misery by grasping for things you already have.
Because the truth is that you have more than enough. Start living from that abundant place deep within and make it your mission to share the gift of who you are with the world.
You will stop starving yourself of the riches you deserve and you’ll give others permission to do the same.