A question that I have asked myself many times is, “Why am I greedy?” I must admit that I am a little embarrassed admitting that I have felt greedy. You see, I was raised in a religion that taught me that greed is one of the seven deadly sins. Greed has always been, in my mind, something to disdain. So, why am I greedy?
Before exploring the answer to this question, let’s establish what greed is. My dictionary states that greed is, “excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.” Well, when I carefully analyze the definition and compare it to what I feel, then I think I have only a “little bit of” greed.
Two synonyms of greed are avarice and covetousness. Avarice implies excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain. Covetousness implies inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions. I don’t think that avarice or covetousness applies to what I felt, but I still can only find one word, uhhh, make that three words, to describe it: “little bit greedy.”
How have I been a “little bit greedy?” A few years ago, I was given a small amount of money. Believe me, it wasn’t much, but it was a lot more than I ever thought I would be given.
When my mom and dad died, they had nothing to will me. I knew of no one that would give me anything. Then, all of a sudden, I was given an unexpected gift. Immediately, I shared some of it with my family. I took what was left and put it in the bank and started spending it on gifts for Christmas and updating our house.
It wasn’t long before I realized that the gift was almost gone. This is when the feeling of “little bit greedy” roared its head. I started awakening at night and thinking about what had been spent and why I did it. Happiness over receiving the gift was replaced with regret for having spent the money. I started hoarding what was left. It didn’t then, and it doesn’t now, make any sense to me. On the other hand, I know in my heart that I felt, at least, “a little bit greedy.”
Having an experience of feeling a “little bit greedy,” and observing various friends go through comparable experiences, has made me realize how greed affects us. I have observed friends who have hurt family members and made enemies of their friends, all because of greed. It is a very negative emotion.
The opposite of greed is generosity. I’ll admit that I have never considered myself to be very generous. On the other hand, I think I am generous enough to be considered not greedy. That is, until the before-mentioned incident.
Here is the weird thing I discovered and felt about greed. The feeling of greed brought out a feeling of want in me. Horace, an ancient Roman Poet, once wrote, “He who is greedy is always in want.” I suppose that makes sense, because greed implies an extreme desire and therefore, a feeling of want is only natural. I just didn’t expect that.
Back in June, I did a posting entitled, “What Kind Of Wolf Do You Feed?“ In that posting I quoted a parable from the Native American Indian Legends, that compared two wolves metaphorically representing good and bad traits found in humans. When I wrote that post, I did not focus on greed, but remember thinking how I have sometimes fed the wrong wolf. For more about this, please visit that posting by clicking here, or the link in the title given at the beginning of this paragraph.
So, why am I greedy? Well, being greedy is a natural thing and it isn’t always a bad thing.
Greed is natural, in the sense that we are naturally desirous of many essential things – love, food, praise, knowledge, etc.. It isn’t bad, in my opinion, when we are greedy about something like knowledge, excellence, justice, etc.
The point I’m trying to make is that greed isn’t something we should expect, nor necessarily consider, to be a weakness in character. I suppose, like most things, we need to consider each individual case.
I’ll admit that greed “leans” toward the negative, but we shouldn’t say someone is a bad person due to greed. But, we should consider greed to be a “red flag alert,” warning us to carefully look at the particular greed that is being manifested.
Why am I greedy? Because I’m human.
Should I be greedy? Usually no, but sometimes, yes.
When should I be greedy? Depends! :-)