Enough will never really be enough
“The belief in scarcity produces the worm of anxiety in the stomach as a reminder to be afraid of future loss, lack and nonexistence.”
– Dr. Terry Cole-Whittaker
My philosophy professor in college gave a lecture on the innate intelligence of toddlers. As parents begin socializing their toddlers on the basic principles of social development, such as good manners and conduct, they quickly realize little Johnny or Susie have come hardwired with innate developmental qualities of their own. Professor Graham’s example was to imagine a couple of 2 year olds sitting at a table and their mother places two fresh-baked cookies in the middle of the table, one large cookie and one very, very small cookie. Instinctually, both children will reach for the larger cookie without anyone having to lecture them on the “Fair Division in Theory and Practice.” Put them in a room full of toys and their ego reveals itself through the simple word, “mine!”
Dr. Terry Cole-Whittaker, in her article Having Your Grate-full, touches on the survival instinct within all of us to strive until we have enough. She used the example that in the early days when the grate in your fireplace was full of wood on a cold day, it meant warmth and fire to heat your water and cook your food. She says, “Being grateful, appreciative and thankful (tank-full) gives a person the feeling of having enough. The affirmation ‘I always have enough’ generates your prosperity consciousness. Some will say, ‘I always have enough and more.’” So, when do we know for sure we have enough? Dr. Cole-Whittaker suggests some individuals may be unknowingly operating from a fear and scarcity core belief where enough will never really be enough. She explains, “If we always want more, if having enough is not satisfying, we create fear—a fear that if we don’t always take more, we will not have enough in the future. Past and future only exist in the mind, the source of all self-abuse and mental/emotional torture.”
Dr. Cole-Whittaker believes “more” is the program society has inundated our children with in school, media communications and our own ingrained scarcity beliefs. She sums it up, “Scare-city occurs when our core beliefs are that there is not enough, we are not enough, we never got or get enough, there will not be enough in our future. All this dissatisfaction coming from the belief in scarcity keeps a person un-grate-full, even with enough wood to spare. When we focus on avoiding future failure, longing for what we do not have or searching our memories to lament the past, we create mind-induced suffering and the perpetuation of the past repeating itself.”
We need look no further than ourselves to witness the amount of excess in our lives, me right along with the rest of us. There are so many lessons to be learned from Hurricane Harvey, even if we were shielded from the worst of its wrath. Following Harvey, we witnessed families getting by on the bare minimum as they rebuild their lives. One family I spoke with reminded me that what they lost was just stuff, all of which can be replaced, but family and friends are never replaceable. Seeing the value in each other and our own self-worth is certainly enough when it comes to more of what we need.