6. Scarcity Versus Abundance

sad little girl covering her face

THE ATTITUDE WE CHOSE as a child about the way we would view the world has everything to do with the way we see the world today. 

When we live as a child in a big world where we believe there’s something wrong with our family or us, or we don’t seem to fit in like everybody else, it is natural to believe we were dealt a bad hand. 

The demons inside could be Shame and Humiliation and the words they speak are deadly. 

I will give you an example. I made a statement, which I have learned to be accurate, to a group of recovering alcoholics one morning. The statement was this: 

You will come to learn, if you have not already, that you will always find at the core of the fear that causes you to hide your true self, and therefore rob you of the freedom you desire, is either the fear of people, the fear of God, or both. 

One man, in his mid-thirties, who had already declared, in a prior meeting, that he does not believe in God, said he would have to respectfully disagree with me. “I am not afraid of people. I do not care what people think about me.” 

I have a lot of respect for him because he is in a twelve-step recovery group, and it requires, in its first three steps, the acknowledgment that there is a power higher than him, and he must be willing to surrender to this power. 

I know some of his story, and it is not pretty. He was raised in a chaotic home and a religious cult. Anything that sounds religious rings the alarms in his mind. The fact that he hasn’t abandoned his desire for sobriety is a victory. 

I also know that he has never had an enduring love relationship. He explained in an earlier meeting that break-ups, for him, are not because people leave, but the fact that he leaves for various reasons. He said it is usually because he gets bored. “I am a runner,” he said. 

When asked if he would like to stop running, he said, “No, why would I want to stay with a girl if I stop being happy with her?” 

In his mind, he has no problem. And so be it.  

He could have sat quietly when I made the statement that the fear of people is at the core of most fear, but he spoke. This in itself could prove that he does not care what the other people in the group think about him. What it proved to me is that he feels safe to share his true self. Another victory. 

If you do not have ears to hear, you will not hear. 

I acknowledged his courage to speak and asked him to think back to a time when people hurt him. The only thing he could remember was at a time when he was in jail about six years prior, and his girlfriend of a few years was cheating on him. With his best friend. 

Do you think he might have strung a few words together as he sat alone in his cell and contemplated what happened? 

We attempt to fix our problems out there by first evaluating what happened. We determine what and who was wrong, and of course, we may also consider what and how we were wrong. The shoulds and if onlys come into play, and in the end, we make a declaration. 

With years of fixing our problems the same way, based on the information we gathered over our lifetime (and mostly as a child), we do not have to think long and hard about the declaration we make. 

What we will do next will be most likely what we have always done when bad things happen. 

The current event serves to reinforce the belief that what we must do is more of the same, only from here forward, with extra caution to keep our guard up for what or who caused the awful pain of betrayal. 

If you are in your mid-thirties, I do not believe the first time you experienced betrayal was in your late twenties. My guess is you experienced betrayal before you ever entered school. This is where you strung your first words together that formed the declaration to yourself about how you will behave.  

By the time you were in your late twenties, you may have already tried to amend a counterfeit strategy you had picked up in your childhood if, for no other reason, you were trying to “fit in” with people around you. 

It is in your twenties that you may see something wrong with you if you do not have a love relationship. It is at this time that you may have amended a faulty belief as well. Maybe, if you find the right person, you will not get hurt as you did in your childhood. Perhaps, because you are smarter now, and not so naïve, you know how to protect yourself.  

Betrayal is a very real part of life. The only way to avoid betrayal is to live your life hidden in solitary confinement. You may think you are venturing out when you connect with people at work or with family and friends, but you are not. 

You may think you are connecting by having sex. But you are not.

Standing between you and people is a wall with various degrees of thickness. Words, in the form of declarations, control the degree of thickness between you, but make no mistake; you are standing on the side of the wall opposite everyone out there. 

As an interesting side note, I suggest that the people you are most interested in, the people you like or choose to trust will be safely hidden behind their walls as well. 

It is no wonder that you will add a degree of thickness, further separating yourself, when you encounter people who will take the risk of exposure and lessen the degree of thickness of their wall. Somehow, they felt safe with you and wanted to experience more of you, but if you feel threatened by the fear of what they may think about the real you, it may be time to sabotage the relationship. 

And run. 

If running is your way out, you have plenty of counterfeit strategies to do so without looking bad to your peers. 

The reason the recovery programs are anonymous, and you do not reveal your last name is because of the fear of people. As people break free of the fear of what people outside will say about their problem with whatever program they are in, they will come clean, take off the mask, and often wear their addiction like a logo on their shirt. 

It took many years before I could admit that I am a liar, cheater, thief, and murderer, the addictions to the fear of people. And God. I only hide the truth about myself when I do not feel safe to share the real me.   

Words strung together form your thoughts and feelings.

Your thoughts and feelings form your behavior.

Repetition of your behavior will form your habits.

If you want to change your habits, behavior, thoughts, and feelings, you will have to change your words. 

In other words, if you want to change your habits, you cannot simply change your environment. For example, you can get sober while sitting in jail or rehab, but if the words strung together that caused you to become a drunkard aren’t changed, you will not abstain when you are out there. 

You can string words together to form the thought that moving to a new job, or a new town, or a new love relationship, for a fresh start will be what you need to be happy or break free from depression. Still, until you change the words strung together that caused you to be unhappy or depressed, you will not overcome your sadness. 

You simply postpone it.

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