That Scarcity Mentality

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The belief that you have no other options can keep you clinging on well after it is clear that your are only grasping a mere shadow of hope that was cast from the past.

Fear that if you walk away that you will be left with nothing.

The idea that if you say no there will be nothing to say yes to.

The notion that if you let go you will never have anything to hold onto.

There is nothing like that good ole scarcity mentality to leave us as hopeless as a penny with a hole it.

I know that feeling all to well.

It’s the feeling that I have to put up with my circumstances because I’m convinced I have no other options.

When I operate in a scarcity mentality, I feel like I have to take whatever is put before me.

In my past this has led to me working a job that I hated because I was afraid that if I left I wouldn’t find another place of employment.

And it has led to me staying in a toxic relationship because I believed that no one else would love me.

Neither of which were true, but because I had a scarcity mentality I had a hard time convincing myself otherwise.

In the work situation I found myself physically ill at the mere idea of going to my place of employment.

I would pull up to the parking lot at work with a back full of stress knots because I had so much anxiety about working at a place that I knew I should no longer be at.

But I had bills to pay, I had children to care for, mouths to feed and so I would clock in and do my job with a stomach full of anxiety.

But one day I chose me and I quit the job.

That’s right you read that correctly.

With no other job in hand, I quit the job.

Two weeks later I found employment somewhere else.

Now am I saying that if a person quits a job without having another job that they will find employment in two weeks time?

No, absolutely not.

But what I am saying is that I felt like I didn’t have any other options and I stayed at a place of employment that didn’t sit well with me because I assumed that it was my only choice.

I left with no other visible options because I decided that working in a place that was jeopardizing my health wasn’t worth the money.

I had developed a scarcity mentality in terms of employment because I had previously struggled to find the job I was so unhappy with and I also had a business fail in my past.

So all I keep thinking was that if it took such a long time to find the job that stressed me out then I would never find anything else.

For three months I had been applying for other places of employment and no one was even calling me back for an interview.

I perceived all of that as further confirmation that if I left that I would never find anywhere else to work.

My scarcity mentality had me convinced that I had no other options for work in a poor job market, however when I chose me other options opened up.

Had I not let go of the unhealthy work environment I most likely would have never pursued other places of employment with the determination that I did.

Another example of where I had to overcome the scarcity mentality in my life is in the area of love.

Much to my chagrin I stayed in and clung to unhealthy relationships because I had convinced myself that the person I was with was my only option.

I felt like if they didn’t love me no one would.

I didn’t believe I had any other options.

I failed to see what I had to offer.

I thought that because the people I interacted with at that time couldn’t see me that no one would and that I had to take the scraps that they gave me.

I had a false perception of who I was.

Thankfully, I learned from blogger Natalie Lue over at baggagereclaim.com that you have to stop looking at the men in your life as if they are the last chance saloon and she was so right.

If the person you are with isn’t treating you right you have to stop believing they are your only option.

I say this because as embarrassing as it is to confess, there was a point in my past where I have begged someone to love me.

Thankfully, I have reached a place where I don’t do that any more.

I’m happy to say that people who aren’t attracted to me are no longer attractive to me.

Asking someone to like me, love me, care about me, visit with me, spend time with me isn’t something I’m into.

I recognize that by the very definition the person for me – will actually like me!

And so when I find myself in situations where I recognize that I clearly care more than the other person I remove my energy from that interaction and refocus it towards people who give me reciprocity.

The first example of me intentionally doing this was when I separated from my ex-husband.

After accepting that my marriage was over I felt so unloved.

I felt like no one in the world loved me.

At the thought of how unlovable I felt I would get so emotionally cold and alone that I would actually physically experience goosebumps.

So one day I pulled out a dry erase marker and on my bathroom mirror I wrote the names of everyone who I knew loved me.

The list included my mother, children, aunts and uncles, close coworkers, dear friends and several of my cousins.

By the time I finished my mirror was filled with scores of people who loved me.

Everyday when I woke up I would read off the names of all the people who loved me and some days additional people would come to my remembrance and I would add them.

And then each day I would make a conscious effort to contact as many of those people as I possibly could.

Sometimes I sent text messages, other times it was a phone call, or I would drop a card in the mail. I would have lunch with coworkers who had become friends and go over to spend time with close friends after work.

But most importantly during that time I also reconnected with myself.

I started exercising, I pampered myself at the salon, I bought new clothes, I ate better, I worked on my spiritual life and I loved on me.

Refocusing my attention from the one person who didn’t love me to those who did and onto myself wasn’t easy because I had created a habit of observing evidence of me not being lovable. However, with time I stopped focusing on the person who didn’t love me and I was giving my time and energy to the people who did.

Sometimes we think that we have to replace romantic love with romantic love.

But I was able to successfully replace unrequited romantic love with requited platonic and familial love.

My point is I had convinced myself that no one would ever love me because my ex-husband didn’t and with some work I retrained my thoughts to recognize that I was overlooking all the people who do love me and that there would be more to come.

I know for some the concern is the desire to replace romantic love with romantic love.

But as for me, once I accepted that there was a plethora of people in my life who adored me and started loving on myself it helped me to retrain my thinking that if my ex-husband didn’t love me that no one else would.

And in time I started to meet men who were attracted to me.

However, I truly believe that if I would have kept holding on to the scraps of a marriage that was most certainly over I probably would have never had the opportunity to spend time with men who genuinely enjoyed having me in their company.

I would have stayed with someone who ignored me and called me names instead of having soulful conversations with someone who enjoyed me and called me beautiful.

So when I catch myself thinking that I have no other options, I recall those two situations where I let go of the fear of having no other options if I were to leave a job that I felt physically ill going to and the time when I left a marriage that beat me down emotionally and came out better on the other side.

I can truly say my life is so much richer now because I chose me.

I left those situations without a new love in sight or without a job in hand because I let go of my fear and my scarcity mentality.

Love,
Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Blessing of Failure

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

 

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Photo Courtesy of Crystal Thomas Ashford

 

I can attest to the aforementioned quote by J.K. Rowling, that rock bottom is a solid foundation like no other.

Having life strip away everything that is unnecessary and leave you with the bare minimum puts you in a place where you can start afresh far better than you can from any other station in life.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t until life humbled me and allowed me to fail time and time again that I ironically gained traction in my journey on the road to success.

With each loss I discovered unnecessary parts of me that I had not realized were present until they were removed from me.

I had toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur for several years.

But I was always too afraid to take the risk.

I mean what if I failed?

What would people say?

How would I recover?

So I never did it.

I allowed my fear to prevent me from venturing out on my own.

That was until I decided to do it – afraid.

I decided to invest all I had into myself and my business venture.

So I didn’t talk about my plans with anyone unless they were an expert on the subject. Because, I didn’t want to risk people who lived in fear to sow negative thoughts in my mind or talk me out of it. So I did my research, talked to experts in the field, studied the market and I took the risk.

I pulled all my resources together in attempt to start a business of my own and guess what?

– I failed.

The result of my six month business venture was $58.00 in income which was easily overshadowed by overhead costs. Six months of hard work, six months of trying, six months of being told no, six months of putting more in financially then I ever received out and I was blessed with $58.00.

So with relatively no income outside of child support and three teenage kids looking to me for provision I had a decision to make.

I had to determine how I was going to provide in a job market where I was told I was overqualified. So when I was turned down for the positions that I was fully qualified for, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took three low wage paying part-time jobs and I put them together.

With the help of my friends and family, child support and my three part-time jobs I was able to make ends meet. There were times when I would go to bed at night not knowing how I would provide food for my kids the next day but every single day I woke up and God made provision for us.

I can honestly say I know what it is to trust God for provision of my daily bread.

Prior to that time no one could have told me that I had the physical ability to stand on my feet for 12 hour days.

I suffer from chronic pain that makes it hard for me to go about my day.

But there is something about knowing that I am responsible for three kids that made me push through the pain.

And no one could have told me that I could work 16 hours in a day at two different jobs. Moreover, the concept that I would have to run to the bathroom and vomit due to exhaustion was inconceivable prior to me living that reality. But there is something about knowing that your kids need to have food to eat and not knowing any other way that isn’t illegal , immoral or unethical that some how miraculously gives you the strength to stand.

No one could have told me that I would see all of my needs met in ways that seemed to signal that divine intervention had certainly played a hand in taking care of me, but I lived through it. I have seen things occur in my life that definitely boggle my human mind and I can’t settle with viewing them as simply a small thing, when I know that if the money would have come one day later I would have been in a deeper hole.

Things definitely arrived for me just in the nick of time on more than one occasion.

As I was working part-time I would submit application after application and go on interview after interview just to be told, “no”.

I began to question if I was going the wrong way. I wondered if all the nos where life’s way of telling me to give up.

But I don’t think that was it at all.

The failure of my business, the failure to secure a job that would provide adequate pay, the struggle of working three low paying jobs in an attempt to make ends meet, the feeling I got when all I could afford to give my kids for their birthday was a cake, not being able to afford to provide the life my kids were accustomed to when their father and I were married, were the times that shaped and made me into a stronger version of myself.

Due to my knowledge that I have failed and survived before, I have become brave enough to try again.

I’ve leaped only to hit the ground hard and ultimately learn that while it is indeed very hard that it cannot break me.

So I’ve decided to use the lessons of my failures to help me to take the leap of faith to try again.

Because ironically the greatest lesson that my failure taught me is that I cannot fail.

Even when it seems, I’m going the wrong way I will ultimately end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Indeed I am my own limit!

Nothing can come between me and my destiny but me!

I recognize that by taking another leap that I could fall even lower than I did the last time, but whether I fall again or soar, I have decided to leap nonetheless.

I can’t say that I despise failure because I love the lessons she teaches me.

Just because I haven’t mastered how to win doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing. I’m still in the game all the way up until the time the final buzzer sounds.

The way I see it is that I still have breath in my body and my dream has yet to come into fruition, so that means it’s my responsibility to keep on going.

Am I afraid? – ABSOLUTELY!

But I’ve decided to do it afraid.

I’m reading books on all types of topics to expand my mind. I’m sitting at the feet of people who have gotten to where I want to go and consider myself blessed just to be able to have direct access to them and for their willingness to give me advice. I’m stealing whatever time I can from the act of being lazy and diverting it to the action of honing my craft.

I have a vision in my head of what I will achieve and like a dog with a bone I’m not willing to let it go.

But there are some things that I will let go of.

I will let go of bad habits so new ones can unfold.

I will let go of negative thoughts so new ones can take hold.

I’m allowing myself to be comfortably uncomfortable trying new things.

And the result is that I’m hearing no’s again but I have the courage to keep asking.

I’m being told close but no cigar, so I’m determined to get closer.

I’m having the phone hung up on me, so I keep dialing.

I’ve ended the day without achieving my daily business goals and I used the sting of that failure to light a fire under me to overachieve for the next day.

I look at my check register and wonder do I have what it takes to make it or will I fail like I did the time before. Then I tell myself that my destiny lies beyond those numbers.

I have to tell myself to stop worrying about the people who are betting against me and to remember that what I think of me is all that matters.

I remind myself that as long as I don’t give up that I will achieve the results that I hope to achieve.

I am taking the lessons of my yesterday and I am applying them to my today.

For I have a choice, I can give this my all or I can not do it at all. There is no half stepping, no partial effort, it’s all or nothing and I want it all.

It is possible that I may fall all the way to the bottom. But we already discussed the benefits of being at the bottom at the top of this blog entry.

If I hit rock bottom I’ll still be breathing and that means I’m still in the game.

Yes, when you’re at the bottom people will judge you, but guess what they’ll judge you no matter what your station is in life.

Also you can’t learn how to truly appreciate what you have until you experience not having.

For almost three years I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I was running at top speed exerting a bunch of energy and I never seemed to get any traction.

And now I stand with the glimmer of hope that this time I can make it. I’m gaining ground and I like it.

It is my firm belief that this time I can achieve my goal but I am going to have to put in the work to earn it.

When it comes to our dreams in life no one is going to give us anything we haven’t worked for.

With that said I am going to keep trying to achieve my dreams and keep reaching for my goals.

I’m investing in me.

Before my failure I thought that obstacles were meant to destroy me.

It wasn’t until someone explained to me that life doesn’t put obstacles before us in the hope that we would fail but to the contrary, it does it in the hopes that we will succeed.

Because, much like a trainer sets up exercises for an athlete to enhance their ability, so does life set up exercises to advance us.

Life gives us hindrances and obstacles with the hopes that we will become stronger.

We need that strength for where we are going.

For that reason I am thankful for kids who ask why we live in an apartment when their friends live in a house.

And I give thanks for the guy who told me he didn’t want to continue seeing me because I was struggling financially.

Not because it made me want more money or because I’m some sort of glutton for punishment, but rather because I knew I was trying my best and from those comments I learned that only I know when I am doing my best and even if those I care about see me as a failure I have to know who I am for myself.

I have grown to value the eye rolls, scoffs, rejection and judgment as much as the love, kindness, support and care that I received from those around me.

I tell this story not as someone who has achieved my dream.

No I’m telling my story in the face of everyone and I’m saying it may not happen this year or even this decade but I have a dream in my heart and if I die before it manifests I want the world to know that I died trying.

Far too many of us become paralyzed by our fear of failure. But I’m here to say I failed and yet I am still in the game. I encourage you to try even if it results in failure because failure is indeed it’s own blessing.

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Putting Things into Proper Perspective

 

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Photo Courtesy of: Leslie Walker

About 15 years ago I suffered from panic attacks.

When I would go to the doctor for help they would simply tell me I needed to calm down and send me home.

After being turned away several times somewhere inside of myself I found the answer to my panic attacks even though the doctors had dismissed me.

What I did was went home pulled out a spiral notebook and created a T-Chart.

On the left side of the paper I wrote down everything that I was worried about and on the right side I wrote down steps I could take to solve the problem.

If I didn’t know what to do about an issue I would write “God will take care of it” in the right hand column beside the problem.

As a person of faith I used my belief in a higher power to help me to believe that ultimately everything would work out.

Additionally, I would write a list of whatever it was that I needed that I didn’t have the financial means on hand to receive.

As I would acquire the things I needed I would cross them off the list. Each time I crossed things off I took notice of how with time all my needs were met.

Those exercises taught me that everything will be alright and helped me to stop having panic attacks because ultimately I was putting the things in my life in proper perspective.

In 2014, I was listening to Oprah Winfrey speak to a couple about the benefits of a gratitude journal. They explained to her how they noticed a significant improvement in their relationship once they began a daily practice of writing down five things that they were grateful for.

This reminded me of how several years ago I explained to my children the importance of naming five things in life that they are thankful for on a daily basis.

Often during car trips I would have them name to me five things that they were grateful for.

They especially heard me say this whenever they would come to me offering up a complaint about their lives.

While I know they have no idea why I did that, the purpose behind it was because I recognized the importance of putting things in proper perspective.

Interestingly enough just a few days ago I was reading a book by Dr. Daniel Amen called “Change your Brain Change Your Body” where he wrote about how practicing gratitude and writing down five things that you are grateful for can improve your mind in as little as three weeks by helping you to stop automatic negative thoughts from playing in your mind.

It is my firm belief that gratitude is powerful, because I have seen it demonstrated in my own life.

Additionally, there is something about seeing things in writing that adds to that power.

Last year I lost sight of the positive things in my life and I fell into a deep depression. I decided to attend church in an attempt to gain some mental clarity. While there the pastor helped me to become aware of the fact that thanksgiving is the antidote of anxiety. This brought into remembrance my practice of journaling what I was grateful for and in turn helped me to lift myself out of a place of dread and despair.

I don’t believe that living a life of worry, despair and anxiety at the same time I am practicing gratitude and thanksgiving is possible.

Simply because they are opposing emotions.

So I have chosen to live the latter.

For example, the other day I had something happen that I found to be upsetting and I became angry and upset.

However, when I took the time out to recognize the blessings in my life I was able to reduce my anger significantly.

I also decided to change what I thought about the event. I purposely decided to look at the thought and let go of the negative aspects of it.

This isn’t about being a Pollyanna and turning a blind eye to the things around me.

This is about opening my eyes and being clear about what is really surrounding me.

When I think of what happened and I put it into proper perspective my anger subsides.

As Byron Katie says, “It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts that causes suffering”.

I am not in denial about what has taken place in my life but I refuse to allow it to control my life.

I realize that I do not have to hold on to painful thoughts.

Furthermore, I have found worry to be absolutely pointless.

Understand that you cannot change anything by worrying so there really is no reason to do it.

As a matter of fact worrying takes time away from what you could be actively doing to improve your situation.

It is this understanding that motivates me to do my best not to worry because it is a waste.

My life is not the best, however it is blessed.

And for that reason I constantly give thanks for the things in my life.

A few days ago I decided to not just audibly give thanks but to also restart a gratitude journal as well as my T-Chart practice whenever a problem arises and my list of daily needs being met.

I don’t like having negative thoughts playing through my mind on repeat and so I am taking active steps to input positive ones into my mind.

In my journal I write down five positive things that happened to me that day that I am thankful for.

I go beyond the generic – I am thankful for good health and give more detail as to why  I am thankful. For example I might write:

I am that I am healthy enough to have been able to stand on my feet and complete my shift at work which allowed me to have a source of income and put me in position for advancement in the workplace.

I give thanks for having enough money to buy a nutritious meal which helped to nourish my body and give me strength for the day.

And I may also give thanks for the person who complimented me on my looks and made me feel positive about myself.

Dr. Amen explains that it is important not just to write down what you think you “should” feel thankful for but what you are actually thankful for.

When we mix emotion and truth behind our gratitude is has the power to improve our day.

It is my desire to gain a greater appreciation for the life that I have.

I have spent a lot of my life focusing on what was wrong with my life and myself.

I figured it was high time I start focusing on what is right.

Scripture says that whoever is faithful in little things can be trusted with much.

I think that sometimes we don’t appreciate the little things because we are constantly eyeballing the big things and spending the bulk of our time wondering why we don’t have “big things”.

Never despise small beginnings.

I know this may seem cliché but there really are people who envy the life you are living because theirs is more tumultuous.

Take appreciation for where you are on the way to where you are going.

Practice embracing your now.

I know that my life is not perfect but I also know that it is fulfilling.

There are things that I would like to have that I don’t and situations I would like to be in that I am not.

But when I really look at my life I am blessed.

I have a sound mind, positive relationships, and a sense of comfort.

My health is not the best but I have the capability of transforming it and I am taking positive steps to do so.

My career is not in the position that I would like it to be in however, I have the tools and avenues to get it there and I know that it will get back on track.

I have a strong desire to have a healthy romantic relationship and at the proper time I will have one. Right now I am thankful that I reached a point where I realized that I am worthy of one. I am enjoying my life as a single woman and working on becoming a woman who can maintain a healthy and positive romantic relationship by learning my true value and worth as well as relationship skills.

My life is not all bad.

For all the things that need improvement, I have the ability to improve.

In my past I spent an excessive amount of time laying on my couch feeling sorry for myself.

I was choosing to live a defeated life.

By acknowledging what my blessings are and putting them into writing I have started to go to bed with positive thoughts and in turn wake up feeling positive.

I appreciate waking up in a positive state of mind because there was a time when I would wake up replaying the same negative thoughts that I had fell asleep with.

To be honest, I had the script of negativity running so strongly in my mind that I would even dream about all of my heartache and pain.

Sometimes the thoughts were strong enough to cause me to wake up angry and with my hearth pounding.

Since I started writing what I am grateful for right before bedtime those negative thoughts have subsided.

I wanted to take the time out to encourage you to start a gratitude journal if you haven’t already.

Additionally, please thank the people in your life who bring you kindness and blessings.

As you show gratitude for what you have you open the door for more to come.

Personally, I don’t practice a life of gratitude for more to come (it is inevitable that it will happen). I practice it because it makes my life more peaceful.

I desire a peaceful life and this is a way for me to have it.

I know that problems will arise, but I want to overcome them with the least amount of stress possible.

And I have found that when I am actively aware of the fact that I have far more goodness surrounding me than I do bad it helps me to focus on the good and have peace of mind.

Putting things in proper perspective is essential to a healthy well being.

If you find yourself saying things like:

Nothing ever works out for me.

People always let me down.

I never have enough money.

No one cares about me.

These are red flags that you do not have things in proper perspective.

When you make an absolute statement in the extreme negative I assert that you are not being honest about your situation.

Some times things don’t work out but what about the times that they do?

Many people have failed you, but if you search the recesses of your mind you will find someone who didn’t (even if it the clerk at the store who gave you correct change).

You may not have enough money to do what you want, but you clearly had enough money to survive the day.

Maybe those people don’t care about you but someone does (and it’s often the person you are pushing away).

I invite you to join me in starting a gratitude journal, using the T-Chart method I described earlier to help you to relinquish any thoughts of worry and making a list of your needs to remind you of how they are being met.

I want you to become the best you that you can be and I am going to work on being my best me!

 

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.