Last week, I noticed a theme showing up in several client sessions– scarcity mindset. We are in the heart of summer, and most young people are telling me that it’s flying by, especially after spending all of last summer in the house. I know that summer can also come with some pressure– pressure for it to be the best time ever.
Consequently, it can be easy to fall into the pattern of thinking that there’s “not enough time.” Not enough time.
As you read those three words, what do you notice? Do any sensations show up in your body? Any thoughts run through your mind? I personally notice a tightness in my chest, and I realize I am not really breathing. There’s a gripping sensation throughout my body. I also notice my thoughts are unfocused and feel rushed.
Naming Scarcity Thinking
The idea of “not enough” is a manifestation of lack mentality or scarcity mentality. When your thinking is focused on the ways that something or someone is “not _____ enough,” you are stuck in scarcity thinking. When you believe that there is not enough of a resource (like time, energy, love, attention, money, food, etc.), you are in scarcity thinking.
I need to name very clearly that there are many people who experience barriers to resources because of systems oppression, including capitalism. Scarcity mindset and the literal lack of access marginalized groups and people experience is created by these systems, not by individuals and how they think. Check out my pal Eva’s blog about growing non-capitalist thinking to promote change here!
This said, we have all been impacted by (read: harmed by) capitalism and the drive to compete, make more money, extract more for personal gain, and so on. Thus, we probably all experience lack mindset on a regular basis, and it can show up in ways that limit us.
In order to expand your thinking away from lack and into spaciousness, abundance, or enoughness, you first have to become aware of when and how scarcity is showing up. Then, you can work with the thoughts, and gradually create new patterns. These are some ideas and practices I have used in my own journey.
Tune in to your body. Do your best to notice and listen to the info your body is giving you. The quality of your breath and the experience of how you feel on the tension-relaxation spectrum are good starting places. Start to get familiar with how both lack and enoughness feel in the body.
Gently name your thoughts. When you catch yourself saying or thinking “I don’t have enough…” or “There is not enough…” call yourself in. Maybe you create a code word. Maybe you simply say (aloud or in your mind) “That’s scarcity thinking.”
Slow things down. Not enoughness usually comes from moving at a pace that is unsustainable. Focus on your breath. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique as a sensory activity. Take a brief rest– yes, even 5 minutes of laying down can help! Do something simple that brings a little bit of slow comfort.
Get in touch with gratitude. When you are stuck in lack mentality, you give your attention away. It can be helpful to remember what parts of your experience you are grateful for. For example, when I feel like there isn’t enough time with loved ones, I invite myself to remember how much I cherish the time we DO get to spend together. When I worry that I don’t have enough down time, I try to pay attention to my senses in the present moment and enjoy the experience I am having.
Offer yourself affirmations. If you respond well to words of affirmation or giving your brain a new, different thought to focus on, you might create some abundance or enoughness affirmations to repeat to yourself. Some time-focused ideas include: I am not rushed. I will get this done when I can. I am enjoying this moment.
Give yourself permission to say no or to change plans. Sometimes you try all of the above, and you still feel constricted. You might truly be too busy for your current capacity, and this means that you might need to say no or cancel or change plans. Hold your choices in freedom; in other words, allow yourself the grace to change your mind when you need to.
You are Enough
You are enough! Being human is a dynamic experience. Today you might feel abundant, tomorrow you might feel some scarcity, and other days it will flip flop. It’s all part of being human, and I invite you to be as kind, gentle, and slow with yourself as you can along the way. Reach out if you’d like support in creating some compassionate accountability for yourself!
*Photo credit: Rawpexel