On Scarcity and Being Enough

By Jessica Downs

Many of us walk through this world, lost in a hustle—we are exhausted, worn out, and often unsure of why we are where we are. With the ever-growing, ever looming presence of social media, and the pressure from our cultural values to perform and perfect, it’s hard to catch a break from all the things we are not, and that can work to create uncertainty and anxiety.

  • There are not enough jobs for me to find one that will make me happy.
  • I’ll never have the time to be the parent I want to be.
  • I’m not making enough money
  • My house is dated. My wardrobe is dated. My face is looking older—I’m dated!
  • I’ll never be as good-looking, fit, well-liked, successful, talented or witty as “so-and-so.”

And so we hustle. We pin, and we post, and we self-loathe because we are just not keeping up.

There are probably several reasons we can get stuck in this trap, but one explanation worth exploring is how we see the world in terms of what is available to us, and what is scarce?

Scarcity & Survival

Scarcity, at its most basic level, is about survival. If there is not enough food available, you are going to do everything within your power to procure food. Fear of dying would probably fuel that, and your mind would become hyperfocused on meeting that most basic need to eat. This is functional.

This same science kicks in in a less functional way when we see other resources through the scarcity lens: jobs, friendships, promotions, beauty, relationships, love within those relationships.

Moving Beyond Scarcity: Being Enough

The scarcity lens would have you believe that there is never enough, and that you are never going to be enough. Brené Brown highlights this principle for us:

We live in a culture with a strong sense of scarcity. “We wake up in the morning and we say, ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ And we hit the pillow saying, ‘I didn’t get enough done.'” We’re never thin enough, extraordinary enough or good enough – until we decide that we are. “For me,” says Brown, “the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It’s enough. I’m enough.”

The opposite of all the things you are lacking is not to have more of them. It is to become grounded in what you have. To choose to practice and cultivate gratitude. To relinquish the lies that tell you you are less than, lacking, and not enough. To courageously see yourself differently.

Individual Counseling in Denver, Centennial, & Castle Rock

If you struggle to know that you are enough, give us a call! We have counselors in Denver, Centennial, and Castle Rock who are ready to help.

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About Jessica Downs

Jessica Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when she moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

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