For as long as I can remember I always feared not having enough. It was like I could never get enough to make me feel full. I dreaded the empty, anxious feeling that would arise when the circumstances of my world didn’t make me feel the way I wanted them to. So, I did whatever I could to avoid it. I worked harder, strived and achieved in the hope that getting more would ease my inner ache.
I know I am not alone in this lack mentality. This nagging feeling of not enough. It plays out in our relationships with money, in our career’s, with our partners and within ourselves.
This mentality drives us to be mass consumers and excessive do-ers. We find ourselves on an endless treadmill of seeking. Seeking more love, more money, more recognition, more stuff. But we still feel empty.
There is this constant inner feeling, gnawing at you. You try to avoid it. Sometimes you can. But then something will happen – your bank account drops, that guy doesn’t text you back, you put on a few kilos and then all of the sudden you are writhing in anxiety.
Symptoms Of A Lack Mentality
The lack mentality is a constant feeling of not enough.
While many of us see this as an external problem, I believe it stems from something deeper. It’s root cause is the underlying fear that I am not enough.
Most of us don’t want to face up to that feeling so we will keep our focus outside of ourselves, trying to make it go away by doing and getting more.
The not enough mentality seems to always be thinking about what is missing. Our mind is consumed with thoughts of what I don’t have, why I am not enough, what I did wrong, where I am not feeling what I want, how I am not where I want to be, what isn’t here. And the list goes on…
We find ourselves fixated on this way of thinking. Going round in circles in our mind. Obsessing. And the more we focus on what we don’t have, the more we experience the lack of it, so it becomes this perpetual cycle.
We may at different points in our life, receive what we are seeking and feel that temporary hit of satisfaction. But this doesn’t solve the underlying problem.
No matter how much money we have, it never feels like enough to ease the anxiety. No matter how much love we receive it doesn’t mask that deep insecurity. No matter how much success we achieve, it doesn’t soothe that voice in our head that makes us feel that we are inadequate.
So, how can we flip this? How can we break the cycle of emptiness and learn how to fill ourselves up without needing more money, more love or more stuff?
1. Get Honest And Call Out Your Crap
The first part is always the most confronting.
If you want to get to the root cause of what is creating this pattern, you have to do some inner detective work.
Sit down with a pen and paper and reflect on each area of your life externally, as well as how you feel on the inside. Where in your external world do you feel you don’t have enough? What are you not getting enough of? And now, look inside. Where do you feel not enough? What parts of yourself have you judged as not being good enough?
2. What Are You Really Seeking?
Ok, now time to check in with how you want to feel.
How do you think getting this stuff will make you feel?
If you had the money, the devoted partner, the promotion, the nicer house, the slimmer body, your parents approval, how do you think you would feel? Start to get clear on what you are really seeking here. You may think you are seeking one particular thing, but ultimately you want that thing so you can feel a certain way.
3. Fill Yourself Up
Once you can see what you want to feel, this is your chance to do the work. The real work.
I am going to encourage you to stop looking to the external world to fill you up and instead learn how to do it for yourself.
How do you want to feel? Loved, appreciated, successful, happy, at peace, relaxed? And how have you been looking to the external world (eg: your job, your friends, your partner, your bank account etc…) to make you feel that way.
This might be tough initially, but begin to think about how you can start to experience those feelings now, without needing anything outside you to change. What shifts can you make to how you think, what you focus on, your lifestyle and your actions, so that you can experience more of the feelings you crave?
4. Appreciate What You Have Got
A lack mindset focuses on what it doesn’t have, while an abundance mindset focuses on what it does have.
Look at your list of feelings and notice where you are already experiencing this in your life – no matter how fleeting. Acknowledge where you are already so blessed to be experiencing this. Where else do you already have what you want? What do you see around you that you love? What wonderful people, experiences or manifestations do you already have?
People with an abundance mentality are grateful for what they have in the bank now, rather than noticing how there is not enough. They are grateful for what their partner gives, rather than always asking for more. They focus on what is perfect and beautiful about their body, rather than nit picking over their flaws.
5. Decide For It To Be Enough
What has your mind told you that you need in order to feel enough? What is the target that you have to reach for you to feel enough? The funny thing is that when I ask my clients in our sessions – ‘How would you know you were enough?’ – they can never tell me.
This is because the lack mentality will never (and I repeat never) allow you to feel enough. In fact, it will do whatever it can to ensure you feel the exact opposite.
At the end of the day, you can choose what enough is. So why not choose to let yourself and your life be enough, right now, just as it is? Drop the crazy expectations, the high standards and the unrealistic goals. Love yourself just as you are right now. Be grateful for your life, just as it is now. Let it all be enough.
This doesn’t mean you give up on your desires. But you will notice the more you love and appreciate what you have and the more you feel full and abundant now, the more you will attract opportunities, people and experience that make you feel even more of it.
Have you ever struggled with a lack mentality and feeling not enough? What is your favourite practice to shift in to an abundance mindset? Share with me below.