It started with my bank account. I overdrew by a minor math error -again. Two bucks short, a thirty dollar fee -there wasn’t enough money. Payday finally came, though not fast enough.
Five hours later, I’d paid for my daughter’s piano lessons, my son’s haircut, pulled cash out for school expenses, bought five food items and cut a check for 20 dollars to the cute girl looking for donations for a good cause.
My check was gone. Gone! How did that happen? There just wasn’t enough money to draw from, and between the piano lessons, the haircut, and the shopping, there wasn’t enough time to THINK let alone make the Mother’s Day cards we’d planned to make. What about dinner? I crack open the rotisserie chicken I’d grabbed at the store -it’s tiny. TINY. There wasn’t enough for a family of five, no matter how careful I was about portioning.
As the three year-old fusses in bed and the kids fight their way through their bedtime routine, I sink, wallow and WEAR that moment… My Scarcity Moment. Brene Brown started an entire book with a chapter on Scarcity -the lie we tell ourselves: what we have isn’t enough and who we are isn’t enough.
I heard it all pouring out as I melted down in front of my husband.
There’s not enough money.
There’s not enough time.
The kids need more than I have to offer, they deserve more.
I’m the worst at my job, not proficient enough.
I am not enough.
That succession is lethal.
The effect I let my bank account balance have on me triggered a ripple effect of scarcity. It started with circumstantial things (money, time) and transitioned very carefully into internal, personal things (parenting, self-worth).
If self-judgement were a sport, I’d be semi-pro.
Sometimes I play God. I take His jobs on, looking very much like a three-year-old girl dressed up like her mother in lipstick and heels.
“I got this,” I shrug. I exact judgement in all its reckless forms -on others, on situations, on myself most of all.
Kim is my counselor, and she tells me how important it is to STOP.
“When a self-judging thought comes up, be aware of it and counteract it. You won’t always want to do that. Sometimes you’ll want to just sit in it. When you decided to sit in your self-judgement, have a consequence in place.”
“Consequence?” My imagination vacillates between a stern school marm rapping my knuckles and kicking back on my plush bed in time out.
“What will you do if you decide to sit in self-judgement?” She asks, unwilling to give me direct order. Kim knows how much I’d love to just be told what I should be doing instead of deciding for myself. I can barely manage a menu at a fast-food joint let alone be responsible for following through with self-chosen consequences.
“I guess… I have some positive affirmations written down. I could read them all in front of the mirror,” I’d hate that. Talking out loud to myself is pretty high up on the list of things that make me uncomfortable, “And reading a few chapters in a book about how amazing women are.”
Today I’m procrastinating my consequences. I went a full month changing my hateful “not enough” thoughts into productive “enough and then some” thoughts.
So what went wrong? What happened? What left me in that pit of self-loathing?
How do I reverse the effects of scarcity? It starts with resting up, refueling a depleted mental, physical, emotional and spiritual system. Then I get present, quieting the rush and paying attention.
Gratitude somehow always follows. As I close my eyes and feel the sunshine on my face, I feel grateful for life, for sun, for the moment. As I feel the warm suds on my wet hands, the burden of dish washing turns into a blessing. I’m grateful for blessings.
In those moments, I have enough money. I have enough time.
And if I hold still a little longer, taking deep breaths and letting the gratitude percolate, I remember: I AM ENOUGH. Scarcity cannot survive a heart full of self-acceptance. Like the weeds that grow in my lawn, scarcity keeps popping up. I pluck, I pull, I mow, but scarcity is one of my weeds. Though I can’t keep it away forever, I find purpose and beauty in the plucking.