“Scarcity is like a pair of glasses we do not know we have on, but they interfere with everything we see.” – Lynn Twist
The word scarcity derives its meaning from medieval Latin denoting a sense of diminishment or being reduced. In today’s language, it always seems to boil down to a question of ‘enoughness’.
I think about scarcity less as a measure of available resources and more as a mindset or perspective; a way of seeing. It is, for me, more about the lenses we look through rather than just resources available to us. To put it in emotional language, I view scarcity as a manifestation of fear and shame.
I think about scarcity less as a measure of available resources and more as a mindset or perspective; a way of seeing.
I was raised in a family perspective of scarcity. We weren’t poor from a resource standpoint, but we were from a perspective standpoint. The prevailing tone was a fear that we weren’t living at a higher standard – a desire for abundance – and the shame that came with that – a presiding perspective of scarcity.
What this helped me recognize was the fact that scarcity and abundance share a common core of FEAR.
I experienced this as what I now call a “constrictive state” – a state of diminishment, being closed off, isolated, even paranoid. The way that perspective manifested in me were these myths:
Scarcity = I am not enough – I won’t ever be enough
Abundance = I have more than I need, but I could lose it, so I need to hold on to it and/or get more
In time, I have, gratefully, come to know a 3rd way; the way of Sufficiency. The core of sufficiency is the recognition that we are enough. St. Francis is credited as saying: “I am who I am in the eyes of God; nothing more, nothing less.” This has become for me the mantra of sufficiency! I experience it as an invitation to humility and acceptance of who I am, and an affirmation of the core of my being.
“I am who I am in the eyes of God; nothing more, nothing less.” -St. Francis
This perspective feels wholly different; what I call an “expansive state” – open, curious, vibrant and grateful. In this expansive state, we can feel the freedom of sharing inner and outer resources without the deep fear that we will be permanently diminished or depleted. It is an intentional choosing of the ways in which we see and think about our life, our gifts, and desires.
What scarcity fears get in the way of appreciating who you are already?
In what ways might the 3rd way of Sufficiency open you to an expansive state?