Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2014/09/21/scarcity-contentment/
Scarcity is the belief or mindset of “never enough”. You know you’re being affected by the mindset of scarcity anytime you think “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not perfect enough” or “I’m never loved enough” or “I’m not successful enough” or “I’m not thin enough” or “I’m not smart enough”, etc. And this mindset of “never enough” births fear, shame, jealousy, greed, prejudice, comparison, and arguments with what is.
For me, the solution to the mindset of scarcity is the mindset of contentment. Being content is knowing that “it is enough” and that “I am enough”. If you can be centered in knowing that you are enough, and what you have is enough, then you aren’t tricked into thinking you need more, you aren’t tricked into comparing yourself with others, you aren’t tricked into being scared, greedy, or jealous, and you aren’t tricked into picking a fight with what is.
And I’d like to be clear about something. Both scarcity and contentment are mindsets; they are ways that we see ourselves and the world. And they are also practices. They are formed, reinforced, and made permanent by daily practices we engage in. This is something I help many clients with, forming daily practices that foster contentment and eradicate scarcity.
I had this moment of clarity the other night about how scarcity works in me. I was biking home from seeing some friends. And I saw up ahead one of my guilty pleasures…taco bell. In that moment I could tell that I didn’t need any food. And I knew I had food in my fridge at home. But it was a Saturday night, and I wanted that pleasure of eating a quesadilla.
As I’m biking I hear this thought “come on Alex, tonight won’t be complete without a taco bell run. You’ll really feel so much happier and content if you get a quesadilla.” And I relented; I turned in and got the quesadilla. And then just 10 minutes later when I was home and eating it I heard another thought “oh gosh Alex, did you really get taco bell? You don’t have enough self-control.”
And then it dawned on me, scarcity was behind both of those thoughts. When I got the quesadilla, it was my greed to keep wanting more fun and pleasure because somehow I hadn’t had “enough” yet. I wasn’t practicing contentment.
When I got home and felt shame, I was telling myself that I wasn’t enough. Since I don’t have the “right” amount of self-control I am not “good enough”. Again, I wasn’t practicing being content with who I was in that moment. And so it was scarcity that both pushed me into stopping at Taco Bell, and it was scarcity that was beating me up for it.
If I had taken a moment to acknowledge “I had a fun evening, it was enough” or even “I have food at home that is enough” I wouldn’t have gotten that quesadilla. And later when I noticed that I was telling myself I was “not good enough”, I did center myself in contentment. I stopped and said out loud “I am enough just as I am.” And after that I was able to enjoy my Taco Bell shame free.
And while you may be thinking this is a silly example, I have seen scarcity ruin relationships. I’ve seen partners, friends, parents, and kids be wrecked with shame, fear, greed, and pain all because they don’t think they are enough, or what they have is enough. And in their pain they disconnect from the other person, either by lashing out or withdrawing. And if this issue of scarcity isn’t address slowly that disconnection becomes permanent.
I have also seen contentment save relationships. That once a person recognizes that they are enough, or that what they have is enough, they let go of anger, fear, resentment, jealousy, greed, and arguing with what is. A new peacefulness comes over them. They are calm and centered for the first time. And if contentment is practiced daily that new peacefulness becomes permanent.
So which do you practice? Scarcity or Contentment?
KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.