Monday, April 2, 2012

Self-centered or centered on yourself?

Today's cards: Judgment, Four of Pentacles, Three of Rods. Hmm, well, I got a travel card, and I'm traveling today. Anyone else traveling today? If so, take up whatever opportunity you see while you are out and about. Judgment talks to us about making the hard choices, listening to our innermost desires, and taking a stand. It's either a stand for what we believe in or a stand for what we want, but either way, take a stand. Whew, that sounded convoluted. Ultimately, I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you don't stand up for what you want or believe, why should anyone else?

The four of Pentacles is about greed. Now, it can be the grabbing, yucky kind of greed, or it can be the kind of greed that has you being centered on yourself. The phrase self-centered has gotten a really bad rap over the years. In fact, I bet when you read the phrase, you felt a little icky. No one wants to be described that way because it has such a negative connotation. It means you are an egotist (remind me to write about what it means to be an egotist at some point), you're selfish, or you're only concerned about what you want and need. Right? Do you consider that a negative? Being centered on what you want and you need? If not, I say good onya. If so, I'll ask you to think about what's wrong with taking some time to assess what you need and being focused on that. I think most people could use a little more time being centered on what they really need. I believe the surprise would come when many of those people realized that their needs are very different from the surface-level material things most of us think they are. 

In fact, I'd say that if we all spent some time being greedy with ourselves, our time, our thoughts, our feelings, we'd discover that our actual needs are basic and few. The trappings of greed: power, wealth, material possessions, etc., don't tend to truly satisfy. I believe they've done happiness studies of people the world over and they determined that a lot of people in what many would consider to be poor countries, describe themselves as happier than those in countries with a higher per capita income, etc. What seems to be key to happiness are human connections. Alan B. Krueger said, "Much of what contributes to wellbeing happens outside markets." From Gallup's Economics of Happiness, "Though the study of what makes people in societies around the world feel positive about their lives begins with their relative economic status, it doesn't end there." There was a forum on happiness (around the world) and they studied responses from 130 different countries. What they found was there was a correlation between a certain amount of money and happiness, but that was only the beginning. True life satisfaction came from having other types of needs met. And today, I say, focus on that. Besides money, what are other ways you can get life satisfaction? Make a list of what makes you happy. See how many things on that list have nothing to do with what you can buy. And then go grab a few of those things and play.

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