I’ve been pondering a concept lately and that is the idea of financial abundance deriving from frugality or a scarcity mindset, and that of financial abundance deriving from an abundance mindset.
For years, I doggedly pursued frugality as paramount. I was on message boards where frugality was held up as THE way to early retirement. Basically, spend ONLY in accordance with your values so that you retain as much as you possibly can in order to liberate yourself from outside employment. And then often, it became in my mind: spend as little as possible for the sake of doing so. Case in point: I was in therapy after my son was born for post-partum depression and part of what was stressing me out that particular day was that we were always arguing about supper – what to have, who would make it, etc. We were both working full-time in high-demand, moderately high-income jobs with an infant at home. It was tough in many ways, but we had plenty of income. When the therapist suggested that we buy an assortment of convenience meals, salad fixings, etc., I remember thinking and maybe even saying, “but that will cost so much money!” And it was kind of a wake-up call. I was punishing and stressing myself out for no good reason. We had tons of resources right in that moment, and I was thinking thoughts that made me feel like a pauper.
With that, I started to spend. I did almost a 180 on spending. I started buying and even had my word for the next year be “permission,” mainly to get over the feeling that I was not supposed to spend any money at all, OR any money without consulting with my husband, even though I actually earned more money than him. (Mind you – none of this imposed by my husband. Allllll me.).
Since I’ve joined The Life Coach School’s Self Coaching Scholars program, I’ve been exploring money concepts and thoughts again. Brooke, like many others, teaches about creating feelings based on thoughts of abundance. I’m not yet super clear on how to apply this to my own life. I’m not over the idea of early retirement espoused in the voluntary simplicity literature and movement. I find it very appealing. But for me, it’s always been about escaping the work world, about NOT having the freedom and fancy-free life I imagine I’d have when early-retired.
So I guess one way I’m trying to live the idea of abundance versus scarcity is in thinking about the business I plan to start (website is still a skeleton, ‘kay?) and WHY. Initially, it was for reasons like freedom, not to have a boss, etc. Just like for ER, those reasons are to escape something. It won’t work. I will find some other way to feel restricted or constrained in my business. So I’m trying to envision what I HAVE that I can bring to the business, not what I’m trying to GET. I will serve. I will bring my experiences to share with others. I have everything I need right now, so I don’t need the business to be anything more than that right now. And from there, I will not be focusing on what I DON’T have, I’ll be focusing on what I DO have. And even if my trajectory takes the same amount of time, I will feel so much better along the way.
I do have one old and funny story about this, though. I dated soooo many guys in the ten years leading up to getting married. Obviously none of them worked out, for so many reasons. So one day I’d had it. I threw my hands up – I was DONE dating. And didn’t go on the dating sites, and quit looking at every man as a potential partner I had to impress, and did my own thing (including, LOL, paying down a ton of debt and locking in some of those frugal behaviors). Anyway, it was then that my now-husband asked me out. And I’d known him for 2 years! But I was never able to see what was right in front of me for focusing on what I DIDN’T have – a good boyfriend. It was when I released the scarcity that I was able to get the best boyfriend. ❤ ❤ ❤
I am still finding my way with this concept. What are your thoughts?