Looks? Sure, they matter.
Money? Stuff? Of course. We all have to eat, right?
Yet I look around my little house and the way I count my riches has to do with stacks of books on my bedroom floor – eighteen of them – an assortment of references and magazines that have overflowed the nearby shelves.
Reading material lends me a sense of abundance. If I am rich in books, I am rich. Or so I have always felt.
Disappointments in life?
We all have them, but mine seem smaller in the light and shadow of thoughtful words.
But there are other stacks – bills, and they waited on the kitchen table for weeks until this morning when I attacked them with resolve. Yet I noted the sinking feeling when it comes to their impact. I thought of the opposite of abundance: scarcity.
I thought of scarcity of funds, scarcity of opportunities, scarcity of time most of all – and the psychological repercussions of feeling at a loss or overwhelmed.
And how might this little war play out – abundance pitted against scarcity? How is it unfolding across this nation in homes like mine? Are words my only weaponry for an offensive or defensive maneuver?
We all have assets: smarts, wit, talent, work ethic, kindness, and so much more. Family is an asset, as is friendship. Community is certainly an asset, and one which women are especially good at creating and taking advantage of. And speaking of women, for whom youth, beauty, body image and self-esteem are inextricably linked, perhaps a different sort of “stacked” comes to mind.
Breasts, and the bigger the better, preferably of the gravity-defying sort which seems to be the style regardless of size. A pretty face? Best have that as well.
As a woman, with youth and good looks, odds are you’ll get somewhere – at least for awhile.
For men, perhaps it’s all about the “package,” to be interpreted as you will, along with the fat wallet. And if you don’t inherit what’s in that wallet, it’s up to you to fill it, using your brains, your skills, and your determination.
No, I’m not being cynical; I’m recognizing the way many men and women view themselves, not to mention the way they assess potential mates. I understand it, and I willingly admit that I’ve run into it often enough over the years to know it’s real.
Stacked in Your Favor?
Beauty is an asset. We know that.
But if you have friends, family, loved ones, humor, skills, and so on – not to mention those old standbys we forget about – values and character – I’d say you’ve got it made.
But let’s talk about abundance.
Dictionary.com defines it as:
an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply; overflowing fullness; affluence, wealth
Of course, abundance has long been about acquisition (enough, or more than enough), and that’s only natural. We gather to insure that we’re prepared for the future and able to survive. We’re stacking the odds in our favor by doing so, until we risk toppling or being buried.
Sometimes, we reach a point of wishing we were more given to “spiritual abundance” rather than material stockpiling.
Kisses and Missus
As women, don’t we derive a significant amount of self-esteem from appearance? Who hasn’t dreamed of a different body – taller, shorter, rounder, thinner? Perkier booty? Less calamitous cleavage? We diet, we exercise, we obsess over noses and whine over thighs – all in an attempt to “up” those odds again.
So we feel accepted.
So we feel good enough.
So we are “deserving” of love.
And for some, we tweak and tinker our forms and features so kisses convert to Missus – marriage as the brass ring, the be-all-end-all, the safe haven we can settle into.
Except there is no safe haven. There are men and women trying to stack the odds in their own favor – as individuals, and ideally, as a couple. Marriage is a not a destination; it is a beginning, a journey, a new sort of abundance or, possibly, the road to scarcity.
Stacked to Overflowing?
There is indeed a psychology to abundance – not only spiritual but economic.
In fact, it is very American to believe in the economic psychology of abundance, particularly when it comes to the notion of individual performance leading to “success.” Some refer to this as
a belief that resources and opportunities are plentiful and it is up to each individual to take advantage of them
On the other side of the spectrum sits the psychology of scarcity, more common to Europe, and predicated on a belief that
resources and opportunities are limited
If I apply these same principles to my little universe of assets and liabilities, to available resources and those that are dwindling, I find myself wavering between abundance and scarcity – living them both simultaneously.
My abundance? Yes, acceptable looks, a bounty of books, reasonable health, children who are thriving. I am also fortunate in cherished friends and loved ones – very few, but very special.
Scarcity? Any certainty about what comes next. Stacks of bills and an increasing worry as to how I will cover them. And in this sort of scarcity, I am in good company in this country.
And what about spiritual abundance? That which I consider a sense of connection, of purpose, and even of fun?
I like to think I possess a “plentiful quantity,” but is it enough to counterbalance practical realities? Aging in a troubled workforce? Woman without the familial safe haven? Too little time for the stacks of books, and too few assets for the stacks of bills?
Can you recognize what is stacked in your favor and stacked against you?
- What makes you feel full, or whole, or rich, or safe… “abundant” in some noticeable way?
- What sort of scarcity is most frightening to you?
- When you are dealing with both ends of the spectrum simultaneously, how do you take full advantage of what is going well, and battle against what is not?