3 Pitfalls of a Scarcity Mindset and How to Improve Self-Esteem By Overcoming Them

As Thanksgiving is nearing, the nation begins to turn toward a mindset of gratitude.  Gratitude is an expression of abundance.  It is a way of saying, “I have an abundance of things to be grateful for, rather than focusing on all of the areas of scarcity or places where we are lacking.  A scarcity mindset is also responsible for low self-esteem.  Consider the following ways scarcity attacks our self-confidence: PITFALL #1:  LIVING IN THE LAND OF “IF ONLY” Scarcity tells you things like, "If only you were … then you would be important, valuable, worthy, loveable,  chosen, interesting, respected, and the list goes on.  Scarcity compares us with others and points out how we are lacking in comparison to them.  It leaves us with the constant sense that we will never be good enough.

CURE: Shift Your Perspective with Gratitude

We can spend our lives living in the land of "If only..." and always feel lacking.  However, shifting into abundance means a shift in perspective.  .  Abundance doesn't arrive with new circumstances, it arrives with a new mindset.   Sometimes we take for granted all that we already have when we are caught in the scarcity mindset.  Make it a practice to be on the lookout for the good things in your life and name them daily.  A good resource to help with this is the 5 Minute Journal.  It requires 5 minutes at the beginning and end of the day.  At the beginning of the day, you note 3 things that you are thankful for, 3 things that will make your day great, and a daily affirmation.  At the end of the day, you spend 5 minutes writing down 3 things amazing things that happened today, and one thing I could have done to make the day better.

PITFALL #2: ENVY Perhaps you find yourself envying what others have as you compare yourself.  Jealousy operates on the principle that there is only so much to go around and "you got it so I can’t have it".  We begrudge our coworker because they got a promotion and we didn’t.  We are envious of our siblings because they got noticed for something and we didn’t.  The pretty girl gets noticed which means you get ignored.  Over and over we view the abundance of others as something being taken from us and leaving us in a position that is lacking.  This also affects our ability to be in healthy relationships with people.

CURE: Stop Comparing

Jealousy - Envy - Greed - Coveting  These are all forms of comparing ourselves with others.  No matter what you have, you will always find someone else who has more.  No matter how smart you are, there is always going to be someone smarter.  No matter how pretty you are, there will be someone more attractive.  There will always be people who have a better job than you, have better behaved children, have a nicer house, drive better cars, have more adoration from others, and the list could go on and on.  Stop trying to keep up with others.  You weren't created to be them or to live their life.  You were created to be who God wanted you to be and were called to live the life he called you to.  You will never be able to recognize what you have when your eyes are on what others have.

PITFALL #3: UNMET EXPECTATIONS As a society, we have bought into the lie that we can have it all.  The truth is, every time we focus on what we think we should have, be doing or accomplishing, we are moving into a scarcity mindset.  The constant quest to do more, have more, and be more keeps us stuck in the mindset that tells us that what we have isn't enough.  When we get caught in this mindset, we begin to think that there is something wrong with us that keeps us from achieving what we perceive others have achieved and what we think we should have achieved.

CURE: Be Enough!

Examine your insecurities.  I understand how easy it is to spend life trying to prove your worthiness to others.  This comes from a belief that you are not good enough just the way you are.  It is a belief that you are only worthy of love and respect when others validate that message.  When you get caught in this cycle, you will find yourself constantly trying to mold yourself to the expectations of others.  This can be exhausting and disheartening.  If this is your quest, you will never be enough.  Stop the endless cycle of turning yourself inside and out to impress everyone.  Who are you really?  Who were you created to be?  What makes you uniquely YOU? Be that person and be confident about who you are.  Recognize that the person God created you to be IS ENOUGH.  You ARE enough.  When you recognize that you are enough, you can stop the endless quest for the next thing that will prove you are worthy to be loved and accepted.  No more will you need to have surgery after surgery to perfect yourself.  No more will you need to buy more and more clothing and accessories to adorn yourself.  No more will you be in debt up to your eyeballs to keep up with the Jones'.