When it comes to how you view this world, if you’re like many people, you fall into one of two categories.
People who don’t believe they will ever get any of the goodness in life.
Or, people who hold onto hope that maybe someday, they will get some goodness, yet have no real clue how to make it happen.
Both of these groups live in fear that when something good does happen to them, it will only be a matter of time until the other shoe falls and it all goes away.
These views of self and the world are a direct result of a life paradigm developed early in life.
If your childhood needs were not met in a timely, judicious manner, you came to believe that the world wasn’t a predictable or abundant place. You probably saw the things you needed most (love, attention, affection, food, material things) as something in short supply.
These experiences created a view of the world called deprivation thinking.
As you grew into adulthood, you probably carried this deprivation thinking with you. As a result, you made a distorted comparison between yourself and others around you. Typically you will see others as always getting the opportunities, the breaks, the promotions, and the better relationship.
These comparisons result in envy, resentment, and, more often than not, an unconscious surrender to what seems like the harsh unfairness of the world around you. Like many people, you are likely convinced that the world contains a finite amount of good stuff and most of it goes to people other than you.
Deprivation thinking makes it difficult for people to live up to their potential and get what they want in life and relationships (and in work and career).
This is true for two major reasons. The first has to do with how they view their needs in general. The second has to do with how they view the nature of the world.
The view of your needs began in childhood; you may have interpreted your childhood experiences to mean that your needs weren’t very important.
As a result, you learned to appear needless and wantless all the while trying to unconsciously get your needs met in covert or indirect ways.
As this continues in your life as an adult, you probably surround yourself with people who are not very good at seeing your needs, or helping you meet them. On top of this, you likely don’t communicate clearly when you want or need something – especially in the area of sex.
And, when people do try to give to you, you have difficulty receiving (many people often feel guilt and anxiety when people try to give to them – again, especially in sex). This is why people often settle for scraps (being underpaid, underappreciated, feeling used and overworked) and convince themselves that this is all they deserve.
A second reason that deprivation thinking prevents you from living up to your potential is it is difficult for you to see, and therefore accept, the abundance of the universe. You may say to yourself, “If there isn’t much to go around, why set my sights high and go for what I really want?”
As a consequence of this thinking, you probably don’t notice most of the doors of opportunity that are open up to you, let alone walk through them. So you end up playing it safe, doing the same old thing, all the while secretly envying others who seem to get all the breaks and have all the luck.
Changing Your View of the World
Even though you can’t change what happened to you as a child, you can change your inaccurate interpretation about what happened. Just because your parents may not have always respond to your needs doesn’t mean this is the way the rest of the world works.
Here’s the good news: The universe is different from your family.
The fact that so many people experience abundant wealth and emotional well-being is proof that there is enough to go around. The world is filled with unlimited opportunity and abundance that are freely available to you. Or, stated another way, there is a boatload of goodness for the taking. This is called abundance thinking.
Look around you. Notice the sheer material wealth: the homes, the cars, the televisions, and the recreational equipment. Then look at the people. Most are well fed and well clothed; many are exercising, headed off for jobs they love, holding hands with loved ones, smiling.
Even if each person is not experiencing all of these things, the fact is clear: These things exist, and they exist in abundance.
The fact that some people don’t allow abundance into their lives is not proof that the goodness isn’t there, merely evidence that not everyone can accept them. In other words, a person not living abundantly has more to do with person him/herself than with what the world has to offer.
The main idea – the world is an abundant place and you have been and will be abundantly blessed.
You are not dealing with a problem of actual scarcity, but the perception of scarcity.
Grown up, authentic people are comfortable living in an abundant world. It fits their world paradigm. Because they believe:
- they are important.
- their needs are important.
- the world is a predictable and abundant place where they can get their needs met.
They interpret the reality of others having plenty as evidence that there is plenty for everyone. They live their lives knowing that because they are important and their needs are important, they will always be supplied with an abundance of what they need. This belief eliminates striving, fear, hoarding, worry, and anxiety, leaving more time and energy for enjoying the bounty surrounding them.
Opening up to abundance isn’t a pursuit – it’s a state of mind.
Read that sentence again.
Abundance isn’t an issue of degree; it’s an issue of awareness and acceptance. Abundance is not defined by how much a person has, but by how aware a person is of how much he or she has. If you can’t see that you are already abundantly blessed, you won’t see it if it is multiplied by 10, or 100, or 1000, or even a million.
While it may appear that some people have more material things, that doesn’t mean that they have more abundance. The accumulation of stuff does not necessarily mean that a person feels blessed, abundant, or prosperous. In fact, having a lot of things often gets in the way of a person’s ability to feel wealthy or satisfied. Abundance can’t be defined just in terms of volume or mass. It also includes health, friends, happiness, and/or well-being.
Think of it this way. Abundance is like air.
You experience it with every breath you take and if you already have all the air you need, there’s no reason to hold your breath and hoard the air you have, gasp for more air, worry if there will be enough air tomorrow, or envy those who appear to be breathing more than their fair share.
Want to experience abundance?
Stop pursuing it. Stop searching for it. Stop grasping for it.
As ironic as this advice sounds, it’s how it’s done.
If your core paradigm doesn’t allow you to believe that there is enough to go around, no amount of searching or striving will allow you to receive what is out there. Becoming a full grown, authentic you isn’t about finding ways to get more opportunities or more goodness, it’s about changing the core paradigm that prevents you from seeing and experiencing the abundance that already surrounds you.
Try this: Think about some good and unexpected thing that happened to you in the last twenty-four hours – some blessing that you weren’t seeking or searching for. It could be a stranger’s smile, a friend’s gesture of generosity, a favorite song on the radio, the touch from a loved one, a pleasant conversation, a good laugh, or air conditioning.
Too often we are so consumed with searching and grasping for something that we don’t notice the multitude of blessings that flow continuously through our lives.
Enjoy the strawberry
Here’s this same idea illustrated in a Zen parable about a monk being pursued by a ferocious tiger.
A monk was hiking through the jungle when he stumbled across a tiger. The monk raced to the edge of a cliff, glanced back and saw the growling tiger about to spring. He spotted a vine dangling over the edge of the cliff, grabbed it and began shimmying down the side of the cliff out of the clutches of the tiger.
Whew! Narrow escape.
The monk then looked down and saw a quarry of jagged rocks five hundred feet below. He looked up and saw the tiger poised atop the cliff with bared claws. Just then, two mice began to nibble at the vine.
What to do?
The monk saw a strawberry within arm’s reach, growing out of the face of the cliff.
He plucked it, ate it, and exclaimed, “Yum! That’s the best strawberry I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.”
If he had been preoccupied with the rock below (the future) or the tiger above (the past), he would have missed the strawberry in the present moment.
Life and marriage is best when you don’t focus on the tigers of the past or the jagged rocks of the future but only on the strawberry that comes in the here and now – and no where is this more true than during sex!
The paradox of abundance thinking
Until you change your core beliefs about yourself and the world, you won’t find what you are searching for.
You already have it – you may just lack the ability to see it.
The paradox of abundance is that once you stop seeking it, you start realizing you already have it.