This environment is our culture of scarcity.
We get scarcity because we live it.
Think of the messages we hear so frequently.
Never good enough.
Never perfect enough.
Never thin enough.
Never powerful enough.
Never successful enough.
Never smart enough.
Never certain enough.
Never safe enough.
Never extraordinary enough.
One excellent writer and fund-raiser, Lynne Twist writes in her book, The Soul of Money, referring to scarcity as "the great lie."
"For me, and for so many of us, our first waking thought of the day is "I didn't get enough sleep." The next one is "I don't have enough time." Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don't have enough of."
Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we're already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn't get, or didn't get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack...This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life."
Scarcity is the never enough problem. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don't have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants.
What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven vision of perfection, or we're holding up our reality against our fictional account of how great someone else has it. Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. "Remember when...? Those were the days....."
To grow a relationship or raise a family or create an organization culture or run a school or nurture a faith community, all in a way that is opposite to the cultural norms driven by scarcity, it takes awareness, commitment and work.....every single day.
The counter-approach to living in scarcity is not abundance. The opposite of "never enough" isn't "more than you could ever imagine."
The opposite of scarcity is enough, or wholeheartedness.
Wholeheartedness at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.
And, to engage in the world from a place of worthiness.
Brene Brown, Daring Greatly