When you think of greed and lust for money, who comes to mind? An unfeeling tycoon, a poor person who can’t get ahead, a politician taking advantage of their position—or someone a bit closer to home?
Sometimes feelings of lack or greed can be hard to acknowledge within ourselves. We may discover that we have an unconscious greed that we have been ignoring… Or perhaps not. Either way, it is interesting to explore how greed is created and how it can impact our inner world and our outer economy.
For instance, money can be the energy that you grasp and are desperate to hold onto. So desperate it can make you do things that you are not proud of.
I wonder… Did you ever steal when you were a kid? I stole money from my mother’s wallet when I was young. I also stole from the pharmacy: make-up and little things. I got away with it. When I took things, I kind of felt like I deserved them, like they were mine. Many of us have done this.
Some of us may be on the other side of the coin, believing that stealing is wrong and bad and that if you take what is not yours, you are wrong and bad. This belief holds a lot of judgement that separates us from our true inner world and from our community.
What I have learned from many of my clients goes something like this: At a certain age, you notice that some of your needs are not getting met. At some point, you realize that you need to take care of yourself because if you don’t do it, no one will.
This energy is huge in teenagers. But even if we’re not teenagers anymore, we may feel entitled to take when we’re not getting what we need. This might show up as taking advantage of food and drinks at an event—feeling compelled to have more than you know you need—or claiming freebies just because they’re free.
Money has value in our world, as do the things that we buy with money. So, at some level, we believe that by taking, we are bringing more value into ourselves.
Of course, this behaviour can be laced with guilt, shame and confusion, but we often suppress those feelings. We either need to make it okay that we took, rationalizing our behaviour, or we need to change our behaviour. And that might mean sitting in discomfort, looking at the underlying feelings that motivate the behaviour. Either way, it doesn’t feel good.
Greed comes from a place of not having self-esteem or self-love. And when money (and the stuff money can buy) acts as a substitute for love in your life, how you interact with money can be a sign of how worthy you feel.
If any of this rings true for you, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Look at your patterns around wanting, taking and having with compassion. They are there for a reason, and they have probably been there for some time.
Little things happen in our lives that can show up as greed. Like cashing out at the grocery store and knowing that they forgot to charge you for something, and not saying anything. My mind sometimes will go to the narrative of, “The store makes so much money anyway.” The first thing I feel is, “I won!” Then, because I am always exploring how people relate with money, I will begin to notice an unsettled feeling inside. I will stop and touch my heart or my belly and ask myself, “Brenda, what do you need right now?” The answer sometimes doesn’t show up right away.
A great example of this is just this week I had a feeling of not having enough time or money to go on vacation. And as I was cashing out at the camping store, I noticed they didn’t charge me for the extra set of camp glasses.I was elated!
Then I stopped and asked, “What do I need?
I needed to trust that I am taken care of. I needed to trust that I am not alone. I needed to know that there is always enough. As soon as I realized that, my whole world softened.
I gently told the cashier that there were two sets of glasses, not one. She was so grateful that I had told her. She said that last week she made a big mistake on cashing someone out and the amount was taken off her paycheck. She looked me in the eye and said, “Thank for being so honest. It’s rare these days.” In that moment, I knew that what I needed was to know that choosing to live in alignment elevates everyone.
What do you need? What need are you meeting in you will create more alignment for the world?