The Scarcity Mindset
We’re conditioned to believe there isn’t enough to go around. This is called a scarcity mindset. It’s an innate fear that there won’t be enough for you. Enough money, time, energy, food, water, or even enough love.
In fact, most (or maybe all) of our social systems rely on this mindset of not-enough in order to function.
Yes, that means we need to always feel like there isn’t enough for everyone in order for our society (as it currently looks anyway) to keep moving forward. The scarcity mindset greases the wheels of capitalism, elitism, our banking systems, our food distribution systems and keeps us all on the hamster wheel of survival.
Some of this scarcity mindset comes from our ancestors having survived things like Holocausts and Great Depressions. Most of this mindset is social programming that keeps us stuck in mindless patterns of consumption, which require us to work more and more to have less and less. (More money, less time. More stuff, higher costs to maintain. More money, more responsibilities, less freedom. More prestige, more pressure to maintain status.)
What does scarcity feel like to you? (Here’s how you can tell: think back to a recent experience where you received an unexpected bill in the mail, your car broke down, or you were facing a huge and uncomfortable deadline. Did you worry about where the money or the time would come from? What did that feel like in your body?)
To me, it feels like a tightening in my chest and upper abdomen. It feels like fear and worry. It’s that feeling when you see a long line outside the supermarket, or even worse, bare shelves where your favorite foods used to be.
The scarcity mindset shows up in all kinds of different thoughts and behaviors. Some are more obvious than others. Can you relate to any of these?
When will my unemployment checks run out?
How much will this car repair set me back?
What if the housing market crashes? (Again.)
What if I can’t complete this project on time or on budget?
There’s never enough time to get it all done.
If only I could clone myself!
You have to fend for yourself.
I’ll be happy or feel loved when I have this… (Lose weight, get that job, find that mate)
Will I be able to stay healthy?
I don’t have the energy to do it all.
I’ll take care of myself after I take care of…
I don’t deserve to be as happy as everyone else.
Cultural / Hierarchical / Oppressive:
If I want it done right, I have to do it myself.
(White) Americans are truly exceptional people.
Perfection is mandatory.
Scarcity is a method of control. It’s used to manipulate us. We use it to manipulate others. We compete instead of collaborate.
And perhaps even more toxic, we use it against ourselves to keep us stuck in limiting patterns. We use our belief in scarcity as an excuse for why we can’t have the life we want.
The scarcity mindset is a manifestation of the worthiness wound.
In fact, your sense of worthiness is in direct proportion to your sense of scarcity and not-enoughness. Yes, this means that when you feel like you don’t have enough money or time or skill or talent, what you are really saying is that you are not worthy.
Not enough money at the end of the month? This really means I’m not worthy of experiencing financial security.
To thrive, both as individuals and as a society, we need to let go of scarcity consciousness. We need to embrace our whole selves as individuals with unique and incredibly valuable resources that are here to serve your own happiness as well as to serve others.
But there’s always a rub, isn’t there?
The scarcity mindset is the water we drink and the air that we breathe. It is all we have ever known.
Letting go of poisoned air is difficult. We know we ought to give it a try, but we also know we still need to breathe.
Letting go of scarcity means we have to learn to trust that we will be taken care of. There will be more air to breathe. Cleaner air that invigorates and nourishes every cell in our body.
Letting go of scarcity requires a willingness to push out of our very limited comfort zone into the vast unknown. And to our little unconscious fear-based minds, nothing is scarier than the unknown.
The Opposite Of Scarcity
In the world of woo and New Thought, you hear the word abundance kicked around quite a lot. We all use it. We all want to feel abundant. We all want money or what money affords, we want more time, and we surely want better quality experiences. (And there’s nothing inherently wrong with this at all.)
It’s easy and quite understandable to think that abundance is the opposite or antidote to scarcity. This is also the air we’ve been breathing all our lives. We strive for abundance.
Truly though, the opposite of scarcity or not-enough is very simple. It’s also not that sexy. The opposite of scarcity is ENOUGH.
What does ENOUGH feel like to you?
For me, it feels like balance, calm, steady, and grounded. It feels like, well… enough! I’m not striving, competing, pushing, or hurting. It feels like peace.
Three Steps to Letting Go of Scarcity
I don’t know who said it, but I love this quote: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”
There is a law of energy that states that what we appreciate will appreciate (meaning what we are grateful for will grow).
The scarcity mindset keeps us focused on what we want more of. It keeps our attention on what we feel we are lacking. And where you attention goes, energy flows. Focus on lack and you get more of it.
Step One for Letting Go of Scarcity:
My number one hack for releasing a scarcity mindset is a gratitude practice. Its also not that sexy but holds powers beyond your wildest imagination. Nothing turns things around like gratitude. It is truly a game changer.
Hate your job? Find three things each day to be grateful about it and your energy and mindset will shift (or you’ll set your attention on getting a new job).
Start or end your day in gratitude for what you have, or in grateful anticipation for all the good that is coming your way. When your energy starts flowing towards gratitude and appreciation, you’ll be priming your brain to find more to appreciate. Your perception will change, which means your situation will change.
Step Two for Letting Go of Scarcity:
The second hack for changing from a scarcity to abundance/enoughness mindset is curiosity and radical self-awareness.
Pick one thing in your life you’d like to change. Maybe it’s your bank balance, your energy level, or your relationship status.
If you’re honest with yourself, you might catch yourself in thoughts of scarcity like:
- I never seem to have extra money at the end of the month.
- I just don’t have the energy to do everything I want.
- Am I going to be single forever?
It takes a good measure of self-awareness to catch those thoughts in the first place, so kudos to you for noticing them. The next step is to find a way to be curious about what you want to change.
Try these statements on instead:
- What would it mean to me to save a little money each month? What would I have to do in order to have something left over? What would I like to do with that “extra” money?
- I wonder if I’m doing too much and cramming too much into my day? Is there something in my life I would really like to say NO to? Is there another way I can use my time and energy that suits me better?
- I wonder when I’m going to meet my next partner? 🙂 Where is that person hanging out right now? Am I showing up right now as the person who can attract the partnership I desire?
Can you feel how these questions bring power to you, rather than flowing your power away from you? Can you tell the difference?
How can you practice asking questions right now that will free you and your energy?
Step Three for Letting Go of Scarcity:
The third hack (which generally requires outside help) is energy healing. We’re caught up in nearly invisible crappy cultural programming that keeps us stuck in endless loops of sabotage, emotional pain, frustration and doubt. This is not a life sentence, though – unless you want it to be.
Energy healing (especially PSYCH-K®) can quickly and efficiently reprogram unhelpful limiting beliefs (neural networks) by replacing them with beliefs and thought patterns that lift you up. Much of our crappy cultural programming serves to shut you up, shut you down and dim your light.
Most of our programming relies on your scarcity mindset to maintain the status quo.
My clients come to me because they are done with the status quo. They can see that it just isn’t serving them to stay stuck in endlessly repeating loops that leave them tapped out, frustrated, disconnected and discouraged.
Like I wrote about here, doing the deep healing work and practicing radical self-acceptance will change everything. You’ll find yourself feeling more comfortable in your skin, you’ll move through the world in new ways, and the world will take notice.
In one client’s experience, she got a raise and promotion without even asking for it. Another client had a museum exhibition offer drop in her lap. Another made a radical career shift that included buying a farm and creating a beautiful rural wedding venue.
In every case, the status quo was to play it small and safe. To dream maybe just a little, but not too big. All three of these powerful women said no to the quo, took a chance and accomplished something truly remarkable.
All three of them co-created these experiences by playing in the space of possibility, curiosity and wonder, even though they’ve been breathing the poisoned air of scarcity their whole lives, too.
If they can do it, why not you? If scarcity wasn’t in your blood, what good would you create? How might your life be different? And what’s the gorgeous ripple effect that results?
Are you ready to release scarcity? Are you ready to co-create? Are you ready for FREEDOM? If yes, let’s talk.