Scarcity

I continue to come across simple and accessible pieces of wisdom in Brene Brown’s The Gift’s of Imperfection:

These are anxious and fearful times, both of which breed scarcity. We’re afraid to lose what we love the most, and we hate that there are no guarantees. We think not being grateful and feeling joy will make it hurt less. We think that if we beat vulnerability to the punch by imagining loss, we’ll suffer less. We’re wrong. There is only one guarantee: if we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on the two things that will actually sustain us during the inevitable hard times.

Brene discusses scarcity in terms of the way fear and the expectation of loss can impact joy. I often encounter scarcity in the expectation of disappointment and its impact on change. I frequently hear, “It’s not gonna work,” “nothing will help,” and “there is no point of trying.” Hoping we will eventually feel better is a risk. Trying something new is a risk. What if nothing changes? With hope and action, we open ourselves up to the possibility of being disappointed. We think a stance of hopelessness and inaction is an effective means to protect ourselves. As Brene points out (with loss and joy), we think we can avoid vulnerability by predicting disappointment because we’ll “suffer less.” And, “We’re wrong.” What we actually do is ensure that our situation will not change and perpetuate our sense of hopelessness, stagnation, and suffering. The truth is: the only way to combat hopelessness it to choose to embrace hope; the only way to curb the fear of disappointment is to approach the challenge anyway; the only way to make change is to accept that we are doing the best we can AND we can do better and try harder.

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