The Scarcity Fear
The other day, I had coffee with a girlfriend whose business is organizing people’s homes and removing clutter from their lives. I told her that I have a kitchen cupboard so full of stuff that I don’t even open it. She replied that our homes are often reflective of the emotional and mental clutter we store in our bodies. Many of us get so bogged down, so crammed full of baggage that we no longer open up parts of ourselves.
In the fear of scarcity, we hoard. We hoard our emotions, our food, and our friends. We hold on in fear that if we give them away we will have nothing. We panic when we are out of food, low on money, or not successful by society’s definition. In his book The Psychology of Influence of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini claims “…people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value” (238). We don’t clean out our fridge, cupboards, closets, or hearts because we believe that the fullness makes us feel safe, content, or complete. Yet many of us don’t feel safe, content, or complete.
Global activist Lynne Twist says there are three toxic myths which perpetuate the fear of scarcity:
1) “There isn’t enough”
You don’t have enough sleep, not enough sex, exercise or money. This is a very limiting view that forces us to focus on everything we don’t have exacerbating a feeling of inadequacy, helpless, and a culture of blaming – of projecting our circumstances on an outside object. Instead of focusing your attention where there isn’t enough, ask yourself: Where do you have enough? What is satisfying in your life?
2) “More is better”
- When we believe more is better, we constantly push ourselves to make more, get more, be more. We can always think how great things would be with more sleep, more money, more friends…yet, with the “more is better” attitude we will never be happy. There will always be “more” of something. Instead, find what is perfect in your life as it is now. Where in your life is abundance?
3) “That’s just the way it is”
- This myth creates feelings of helplessness and hopelessness which lead people to feel resigned to the current situation. Lynne Twist reminds us that this myth ignores the fact that economic and social systems are the way they are because people created them this way. What you have created, you can recreate.
In order to let go of the fear of scarcity, we must understand that collaboration creates prosperity: “The more compassion we generate, the bigger our mind becomes. Since compassion brings joy, it makes us happy” (Mipham 110). Through compassion, giving, opening up ourselves we begin to grow outside our preconceived limits. We can transcend the boundaries we have created. We can open our hearts and our minds. When we act selflessly we are moving with the belief that there is enough, recognizing the abundance already present in our lives, and creating a world that brings more joy into our lives.
Caldini, Robert. B. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. HarpersCollins, 2006. Online.
Mipham, Sakyong. Ruling Your World. New York: Doubleday, 2005. Print.
Twist, Lynne. The Soul of Money. New York: Norton & Co., 2003. Online.
SITES OF INTEREST:
Lynne Twist’s website: www.soulofmoney.org
Click here: A great site explaining the yoga sutras
Article “Deepak Chopra on Abundance: How to Cultivate the Feeling that You Have ‘Enough'”