"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into."
- Wayne Dyer
I think comparison and competition exist partly because we believe that there is a scarcity of good things in the universe. And that belief makes us kind of small and scared and unable to feel true joy for others or peace for ourselves.
When a friend (or "a friend") mentions that she's received a promotion at work, her son won an award at school, she's just bought her third vacation home, or recently lost 10 pounds...how do we feel? I know we say we feel happy for her, but how do we really feel? I think sometimes we really feel a little panicked. Like a determined bride at one of those terrifying Filene's Basement wedding dress sales, we feel like our friend's news means that now we have to run a little faster, push a little harder and get more aggressive in general. Because if our friend is getting extra money, approval, admiration, and general blessings...that must mean there are fewer of those things less left over for us. And how do we feel when one friend gossips about another? I know you probably don't respond this way because you are lovely, but a little secret part of me always thought... "SCORE. Less respect for gossip victim, more respect for me."
Like an author I love once wrote, some of us believe that there is a "cosmic pie" and a bigger piece of goodness for you means a smaller piece for me.
A few years ago I got overwhelmed and consumed by jealousy and this made me feel all clenchy and small -- so I decided to try believing in abundance. And it sort of looked like this: When a friend shared good news, and I started feeling jealous, I told myself -- kindly and gently (which is the only acceptable way to tell yourself anything) -- to cut it out because scarcity is a lie and the truth is that there is ENOUGH to go around. And so I went out of my way to build her up even more. I want the best for you, I'd think. I really, really want you to have everything you've ever dreamed of. And you guys, somewhere along the way, I started believing myself. I started believing that I was the type of woman who wanted the absolute best for everyone around her. I started believing that I was a woman who would help the woman next to me get whatever she dreamed of. I became a person who believes that the bigger I help you become, the bigger I become. The happier I help you become, the happier I become. The more successful, fulfilled and healthy I help you become -- the more successful, fulfilled and healthy I become. So let's get started!
What on Earth is cooler than THAT? Nothing. That's just the best, most exciting. expansive, HUGE way to live. To not only believe in abundance, but to CREATE more of it. To quit fighting for a bigger slice of pie and just bake a bigger pie and invite everybody you know to share it with you. Nothing beats that. That's POWER.
The thing is, when someone is bragging to you about money or accomplishments or yadda yadda, what she is really doing is asking you to see and love her. Maybe she's not going about it the best way because she hasn't learned yet that if we want love, it's best to lead with vulnerability. She'll get there eventually. For now, she's just got this part of her that she believes is lovable in her hands and she's holding it out to you and she's saying: Will you see me? Will you love me? And so -- as someone who knows that people are not good or bad, they're just at different places along the path -- you can be a translator and then say: "YES! Well done! I hope you get more wonderful things! You are loved! You deserve to be happy!" And then you can feel yourself expanding. Often we need to ignore the words people say and attend to their underlying, urgent, life or death questions: Am I valuable? Am I loved? The great thing is that the answer is easy: YES! The answer is always yes. We don't have to think too hard.
The amazing thing about love and attention and encouragement and grace and success and joy is that these things are infinite. We get a new supply every single morning and so we can give it away all day. We never, ever have to monitor the supply of others or grab or hoard. There will be more in the morning and it will be enough.
This post originally ran on Momastery.