I have a little problem, and it shows up in a lot of areas in my life. It affects my finances, my weight, my generosity…it affects more than I ever even knew. I didn’t even know it was a thing until about a year or so ago – but I’m finding that a lot of people also have this problem. I’m ready to deal with it and overcome it. Or at least learn to manage it.
My problem (ha, as if I only have one) is that I have a Scarcity Mindset.
If you don’t know what that is, a scarcity mentality is forever thinking “there’s not enough”. There’s not enough money, there’s not enough food, there’s not enough time…it just feels like there is never enough of anything. If you find yourself saying “I can’t afford that”, or “I’ll wait until payday and then I’ll buy all of these things that I can’t get right now”, or “it must be nice that the neighbors can afford xyz”…then you too probably have that same lack mentality. This mindset can lead to over-spending, over-eating, needless worry, and basically it can just suck the joy out of your life, which is no bueno.
How does feeling scarce lead to the “overages” (over spending, over weight, over working) in life? Here’s an excellent example I heard recently: Let’s say you are having a dinner party with your family and friends – you wake up the day of the party and think “I don’t think I have enough food. I should have gotten more to drink. What if no one brings a dessert? I should probably go get some more just in case.” So you go to the store to get more more more, and when the party finally rolls around and everyone has eaten and is stuffed to the gills, you notice ALL THE LEFTOVER FOOD. There is so much food still uneaten, that you make up plates for everyone to take home because there is just no way you are ever going to eat it all. See? Now you’ve spent more money than you needed to because of your fear that there wouldn’t be enough, when in fact, there was and still is PLENTY.
For me, this mentality really shows itself like this: Cash flow is tight, so I put off buying things, then when payday hits I BUY ALL OF THE THINGS because HURRY I HAVE TO BUY THESE THINGS BEFORE THE MONEY RUNS OUT AGAIN BECAUSE THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH MONEY. And when I say “things” I mean stuff like getting my hair cut, doing a big grocery shop, buying whatever gifts need to be purchased, paying as many bills as I can…so then in just a few days, the money is tight again and the cycle starts all over. It’s exhausting. And with a self-employed husband, sometimes money is genuinely tight (hello winter), but because I’ve never developed habits to s p r e a d t h e m o n e y o u t, it always feels like feast or famine, even when it’s really not.
Also, I feel like there’s not enough time – not enough time to do what I want to do and need to do, so my weekends end up being either SUPER PRODUCTIVE (do all the things because there are only 2 days to get everything done!!!) or I am as lazy as can be because I’m exhausted and just don’t want to do anything. Again, if I could figure out how to spread it all out over the week, I don’t think I would feel quite so frantic about not wasting time (because time is precious) (because there’s not enough of it) (see?).
Does anyone else see the restrict/binge cycle happening here??? I thought it only showed up when I was dieting (which I no longer do) but apparently I’ve also been restricting and bingeing my money and time. Interesting.
In my research (let’s be real, I Googled it) about how to overcome this mindset of “not enough”, I found that the first thing usually suggested is gratitude and appreciation. In all of the articles I read, in all of the videos I’ve watched on this subject, incorporating the practice of gratitude is the number one habit to cultivate in order to combat that scarcity feeling. Appreciating what we have and being grateful can help us see that there is indeed, enough. Whether that means writing down what you are grateful for at the end of the day, or just simply thinking about things you appreciate while you are brushing your teeth, focusing on all of the abundance in your life will help dissipate that feeling of lack over time.
Now, I will admit to you that writing down 3 things I’m grateful for each day sounds like something I will never do. In fact, it makes me want to roll my eyes and never think about it again, so I need to come up with a way to work this into my life in such a way that feels effortless so that it will eventually stick. I’m thinking it needs to be in the middle of the day when my energy is at its peak. Is there an app for that? Maybe I need an app to remind me. I’m still working all of this out right now (obviously) – I don’t have any answers as of yet, so if you do, please share!
All of the above is well and good, but my stupid little grammar-police brain cannot get over something else. Yesterday I watched a video about this wherein a 20-something girl had a 20 minute video about this very subject, and I’m sure she had some good info to share, but I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying because she kept pronouncing it “SCAR-city”. Spoiler alert: it’s pronounced “SCARE-city” – it comes from the word SCARCE. At first I thought she just messed up, but she kept saying it like that over and over again – I couldn’t even watch the whole thing because I was so distracted by the way she was saying it! Yes I realize this probably makes me an asshole, but I can’t help it. If you’re going to make an entire video about a certain subject, make sure you know how to pronounce it correctly otherwise you don’t sound credible. (Cranky rant is now over)
So, I genuinely want to know: have any of you overcome this mindset? Or at least learned how to manage it? How did you do it? Do you have a regular gratitude practice and if so, what does it look like in your life (if you don’t mind sharing)?
This was a longer post than usual – thanks for sticking around if you’ve gotten to the end!! You are a warrior!