Let me show you what a date with me is like...

A few years ago, I went out with a guy I met at work. He checked all the boxes. Handsome? Check. Smart? Check? Passionate about something in his life? Check. The list goes on, and I thought I hit the jackpot.
After two or three dates, my brain drifted from the present moment and flash forwards to the future. Planning future dates about how much fun we can have together and the places we can visit. I imagine him meeting my family and friends, and I imagine how well he’d fit in. While my imagination was running wild, back in the present moment I sensed him starting to pull away. I was sensing that he has doubts. So, I doubled down, and tried to invest more by showing him the best that I got. I show him how fun, sexy, and accomplished I am. I tried to invite him to a cool event in the city that I thought he’d be interested in, and he doesn’t even reply. So, I tried harder. I would send a funny text with a photo. I get into panic mode because I was thinking that no one else in the world could possibly check all the boxes in the way that he does. The harder I tried, the more he pulled away.
I can laugh about my mistakes now, but at the time I really thought that was how it worked. If I tried harder, he would recognize my effort and reward me by bringing me more into his world.
I was suffering from a severe case of Scarcity Thinking. And up until very recently, I didn’t even know that it was possible to have Scarcity Thinking in relationships because I thought it only applied to money troubles. But no, this sneaky saboteur pops up in all kinds of areas in our life.
In our love life, scarcity thinking shrinks the entire world of 7 billion people to just what is immediately in front of you and makes us think this is our only option. With the guy I was dating, instead of seeing all the possibilities I convinced myself that there is only one. I invested completely in this one option, put all my hopes and dreams there, and struggled desperately to ensure a payoff that never came.
Scarcity feels grabby and desperate. It feels panicked. It’s a ticking time bomb, with a deadline and pressure. And to me, it feels like a heavy sinking anchor that is pulling me down deep into dark murky waters. It is very different from when a happy couple in a healthy relationship says to each other “Sure there are millions of possibilities, but I choose you as the one I want to spend time with.” Even though they are choosing one person, they are recognizing all the possibilities of what could be.
The opposite of scarcity is abundance, where we see all the possibilities. Abundance feels open and free. It is light and buoyant, like expansive calm ocean and blue skies with a bright sun. When we are in abundance in relationship to love we are actually putting our own needs first and focusing on getting our needs met. It is looking at the relationship through the lens of “I know what I need, and can I find that here? Because if I can’t find it here, there are plenty of other options.”
In my experience, changing thinking into abundance starts first with gratitude. When I feel like I need to get out of scarcity, I pause to take a moment to reflect on what I have to be grateful for. Scarcity and gratitude cannot exist in the same thought, and usually gratitude wins out.
It may be as simple as being grateful for my friends and family who love me for me. It may be recognizing that there is a whole lot of sunshine outside, and wow it feels good. My challenge to you is to catch your scarcity thinking when it happens (in any context), and think of three things that you have a lot of that you can be grateful for – and it can be any three things! It can be feeling grateful for a lot of blue because you own a lot of blue clothing and it makes you feel good! You can be grateful for a lot of cold wind because then you get to wear your favorite sweater and scarf.
For me today, I am grateful for Amazon Music because I have so much music at my fingertips to match my mood. I am grateful for old friends that pop up in random bars that I didn’t expect to see. And I am grateful for the fleece blanket currently keeping my cozy as I type.
Your turn. What are three things you are grateful for? Comment and tell me. And after you write them down, notice if you feel any different.