A number of years ago, my then-girlfriend now-wife Neva and I decided to throw a party for my friends in my apartment. I was between jobs at the time, but I still wanted to show our friends a good time – or so I thought. Looking back now, I can see that my eagerness to have a party had less to do with blessing my friends as it did presenting the image that I was stable and unbothered by my unemployment.
Early in the evening, one of Neva’s friends asked for a drink; naturally, Neva went to my refrigerator to find one. Out of nowhere, a sense of protective anger welled up inside of me. I pulled Neva aside and said, “If you wanted to give your friends a drink, you should have brought your own. These are mine!” My hideous greed revealed my true colors: my possessions meant more to me than friends. Worse than that, I was using my loved ones to validate a false image of myself; an image built on insecurity and pride rather than generosity and mutual care.