Further Proof That I Was Raised By A Hippy.

“Your dreams don’t have to be at the expense of my dreams.”

I believe in what airy fairy people call “abundance thinking”.

What that means, basically, is that there is more than enough to go around.  Of time.  Of money.  Of joy.  Of opportunity.  The Universe – because that’s what airy fairy people call it – is like an ocean.

And the ocean doesn’t care if you dip into it with a teaspoon or a bucket.

I don’t believe in a race to claim your piece of the pie.  That presumes that if I get my piece, someone else isn’t getting theirs.  Airy fairy people call that “scarcity thinking”.

And yet, I realized yesterday as I was staring into my own belly button long and hard that I have been torturing myself with a classic sign of “scarcity thinking”.

Guilt.

I’ve been wrestling with guilt for months now.  Every time someone tries to encourage me, I feel guilty that they’re wasting their energy on me.  Every time something good happens, I feel guilty that it’s happening to me and not someone more deserving.

I feel guilty because over and over again I see me taking from the big fat pie of life and someone else going without.  Because of me.

And that?  Is bullshit.

That goes against everything I believe to be true.  It goes against my faith and my understanding of God.  It violates all of the fundamental truths I hold dearest to me, truths that I know in my soul to be right.

My dreams do not come at the expense of yours.

My gifts do not make your gifts smaller.

My desires, while different than yours, do not make your desires less important.

And son of a bitch, I know this.

But I’ve let myself forget it recently.  I’ve let myself get tangled up in the idea of some great cosmic scale with checks and balances and fair shares.  I’ve let myself believe that I can take more than my fair share of good from the table and leave someone else hungry because of it.

I don’t know how it happened.  It doesn’t reall matter, at this point, how my brain got so off track.

All that matters now is that I’m aware of it.  And while knowing it doesn’t fix it overnight, it’s a start to changing the habit.

So that’s something.

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  1. avitable says:

    But what if I only want my piece just so someone else can’t have theirs? Hm?

  2. pocket queen says:

    Britt, you don’t know how I needed to hear (or read) something like that right this minute.. or something uplifting and hopeful, for that matter! I completely agree with you, about the abundance thinking.. its infinite mercy and grace, and you got it right. I’m glad you remembered it, thanks for reminding us in turn. ;)

  3. Faiqa says:

    Yeah, I have believed in these principles for a really long time. Particularly, that there is enough for everyone.

    You should def. not feel guilty about the prosperity or talents that God/Universe/whatever has blessed you with. Success is a right bestowed upon us, we just have to claim it.

    Have you read the Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder? It’s really good…

    And, no, I’m not a spammer pretending to be Faiqa.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Faiqa, I don’t think I have read that one. Do you have a copy I could borrow? Or am I going to have to haul my ass to the library?

  4. Dory says:

    Good thinking, lady.

  5. RebTurtle says:

    Finally!!!!! Guilt-free PIE!!!

    Seriously though, I’ve never heard of “scarcity thinking” or “abundance thinking” before. That is a fabulous philosophy.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @RebTurtle, do you know I JUST figured out last night while watching a movie that YOU were the person who sent me PATRICK FRICKING SWAYZE! for Christmas?

      So – delayed – THANK YOU!! SO AWESOME!!

      Oh, and I might have also told my husband that you have a couch. LOL

  6. Britt's Mom says:

    Um – not that it matters – but it’s “hippie”. Using “hippy” in any reference to me (the one who raised you) makes me uncomfortably aware of my hips.

    Which, now that I think of it, relates to this whole “pie” discussion.

    See? I CAN make anything “all about me”. Heh

    I’m proud of you.

  7. Sybil Law says:

    Yes. But the alternative to the airy fairy way of thinking would be to never, ever think of anyone else, so guilt can be humbling, too.
    Anyway, you’re damn right – enjoy what you have and what you’ve done. You deserve it!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Sybil Law, no – that’s not true. That’s what we tell ourselves, that’s what I tell myself – but that’s not true.

      Believing there is more than enough doesn’t mean you ONLY think about yourself. It just means believing that there are enough resources to meet your needs and other people’s needs too.

  8. TMWW says:

    Airy fairy way of thinking is the only way to live. There are opportunities out there for all of us, it us up to US to do the digging in the soft earth to find them. The fact that you have found YOURS before somebody else has nothing to do with the fact that they haven’t. So stop feeling guilty, be happy about your super fantabulous life, and remember that even the sky is not the limit for a talented sweetie like you my friend.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @TMWW, “So stop feeling guilty, be happy about your super fantabulous life, and remember that even the sky is not the limit for a talented sweetie like you my friend.”

      this is so awesome. Thank you.

  9. Leslie says:

    Sometimes you just gotta talk it out to figure out.

  10. Finn says:

    Guilt is a waste of precious energy. You’ve got enough to do without beating yourself up.

  11. You are jumping out there and reaching for you dreams. To me, that is giving opportunity to others.

  12. I absolutely believe this.
    I think it’s why I’m not an overly competitive person- I think everyone should have everything.
    (Or maybe I’m just lazy?)

    Anyways, fabulous philosophy…
    xo

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Princess of the Universe, oh I am SO competitive. My mom (the hippie) isn’t though.

      She plays games where NO ONE WINS! Is that no the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard of??

  13. georgeh says:

    A hippy?
    They are the ones who first popularized the idea that the world is a zero sum game, that whatever you get is at the expense of someone else.

    Surprise Brit, you’re a Reagan Republican.

  14. guilt = useless emotion.

  15. Sue says:

    Being aware is the first step. We all go through ups and downs, even small ups and small downs. :-)

  16. The thing about living in the world is the world can take over unless you’re incredibly conscientious about your thoughts. Now, Buddhist monks have a hard time being conscientious about their thoughts 24/7, so I’d offer that it’s going to be pretty tricky for someone who does more than sit and meditate all day and occasionally help needy people to keep their heads clear of the stuff “of the world.”

    Sounds like time to give yourself a break! :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @lynn @ human, being, that is so, so true. And sometimes I’m just lazier about my thoughts then others. And then I wake up and go “woah! How did THAT happen?!?!”

  17. Melizzard says:

    We live in a time and in a place that has us doubting that what we knew to be true will continue to be true in the future. It’s a hard place to be and sometimes we loose our way. I think right now we’re all subject to thinking in terms of scarcity in this time of fear.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Melizzard, damn. That’s wise, girl.

      But yeah, I was thinking the same thing. With the economy and the environment and everything is about fear and not enough and holy hell aahadfahdfkhdf;f;jd!!!!

      It’s no wonder.

  18. ginamonster says:

    That’s not just something, it’s something wonderful!!

  19. I like the concept of abundance thinking. That’s cool.

  20. Don says:

    Dear Miss Britt:

    I’m going to reply to this post and the previous one.

    If I’m correct, there are three things that are troubling you: guilt about having such a great life while others’ lives suck; guilt about spending too much time away from your family and feeling responsible for their misery and the stunted development of your children; and fear of failing to fulfill your dream.

    Let’s take the first item. I agree with the concept that there is enough happiness and good fortune to go around.

    Another way to conceptualize your guilty happiness is what is often called “survivor guilt.” It comes from situations like war or devastation. Some people survive while many others do not, and some who die are comrades and loved ones. It is common for the survivor to feel guilty that she survived while so many others died, even though the deaths were mostly random and not caused by any fault in the survivor.

    I encourage you to see your situation as just what it is and those whom you see as less privileged as just what they are. In every case our comfort or lack of it is determined only partly by our efforts. It is also determined by luck and circumstances. Just like the survivor above we are not responsible for another’s life or death.

    It is important to work for the kind of life we want. But we must also realize that we are not in complete control of our destiny. The best we can do is to influence it. And, depending on our abilities and circumstances that are not within our control we have at various times more and less influence over the course of our lives.

    On your second point, I have this image of two children clinging to their mommy’s knees, looking at her out of huge round eyes brimming with tears pleading with her to spend more time with them because if she doesn’t they’ll die of neglect. They’ll just waste away to nothing because of their loneliness and sorrow. And Jared might just get fed up and leave. All he wants is a wife who will bring him his beer and the remote when he comes home from work. And when the kids are in bed it’s time for wifey to slip into something comfortable and seduce him.

    (I hope you laughed a little at my word picture, or at least snickered or snorted a little bit.)

    How do you know your family is suffering? Have you asked them? Or are you just assuming that they are? It also seems like you are purchasing their acceptance of your “neglect” with promises of some future reward.

    Assumptions need to be validated or they become monsters. I encourage you to discuss your dream and what you feel it takes to realize that dream with Jared and the kids. I think you’ll know how to approach the subject with each person.

    I suggest that you work out a schedule or a pattern that works best for all of you. This will take negotiation and compromise. And be ready and willing to adjust it as circumstances warrant. The key is frequent checking and adjusting. Assumptions about what other people think and feel are often wrong or distorted. We are not mind readers.

    I encourage you to take ownership of your dream. Everybody has dreams. Writing for fun and profit is an important one of yours. Make it your North Star that will help you to navigate your life. But don’t make it a fetish that you stick with no matter what. Be willing to work hard at it at some times and not so hard at others. And don’t be afraid to modify it or even exchange it for another. Plenty of people have been blocked from realizing a dream only to dream a new dream whose realization was even more satisfying than the original. Be open to new possibilities and changes.

    Why do you feel that you must bribe your family into letting you pursue your dream? Is it based on another assumption? Are you assuming that the only thing they care about is some future reward? That they really don’t care about you and your dream? Maybe you could find a way to enlist their aid in your struggle. People like to feel they are being supportive if they are asked and if they are given something definite to do. Could you find a way to tell your family that your blogging is very important to you and that they could help by encouraging you and respecting the time you have negotiated as your blogging time?

    Fear of failure is a biggie. It’s one of my biggest bugaboos. I tend to think in extremist terms: either something is absolutely marvelous or it’s a piece of rotting shit. Most often it’s the rotting shit. When I come out with one of my patented catastrophic scenarios my therapist will often ask me to describe it in detail. “Tell me what it looks like,” she’ll say. Then I try to describe the failure I foresee. In the process I often find that my fear was blown way out of proportion and was also based on some very flimsy assumptions.

    So, I encourage you to describe what “failure” would look like. Be honest, practical and realistic. You could ask yourself some questions such as, “How many days, weeks, months, years am I giving myself before I decide it’s a success or failure?” “What criteria will I use in my judgment?” “If I judge that my efforts have resulted in a failure, what would I do?” “On the other hand, if I judge my efforts to be a success, where would I go from there?”

    One last thought comes from Buddhism by way of Hinduism. It is the idea of “impermanence.” There is absolutely nothing in this world that is permanent, unchangeable. Everything is in flux: relationships, health, jobs, people and things, success and failure. Often our most black and white predictions are based on the notion that once that prediction comes true it will stay that way forever and ever. Life will be forever after either rosy or black. So whether you succeed or fail it is only temporary.

    I wish for you the best of everything, but we become wise and truly human only through suffering. Failure is not to be courted, but when it inevitably comes, embrace it and learn from it.

    Don

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Don, holy CRAP. There is a lot of good stuff in there.

      And in reading some of it, I realize I haven’t given myself enough credit here.

      Jared and I HAVE had talks about time. We have made plans and negotiations, etc. together. I just have to learn to trust that.

      But my favorite part is the last part. I think that’s part of what terrifies me. It’s good now – and I’m afraid what impermanence means for that.

  21. whall says:

    Out of the four elements – air, earth, water and fire, only one of them can be given freely and never run out: fire.

    There’s a finite amount of the other items. If you take a glass of water, then only YOU have *that* water. Such as it is with air and earth. Your lungs hold air that no-one else can breathe for that moment. Sure, there might be a LOT of air or water or earth around, but it’s not infinite. Those resources can run out.

    But fire? You can have a candle, touch the candle someone is holding next to you and share. It’s a limitless supply as long as there is fuel to burn it.

    Love, cheer, “warmth”, compassion – these are all energies like fire. They never run out as long as there’s fuel.

    You are the fuel.

    Remember that.

  22. Poppy says:

    Are you hugging trees, eating granola, and wearing Berks? No? Then I don’t know what part of hippy rubbed off on you.

    It’s pretty healthy to feel an emotion about you having good things while others don’t have those same things, but … do they even want them? I don’t want a lot of the things you have or strive to have and maybe you’re sitting around pitying me over something I don’t even care about.

    It’s ok to have while others don’t have. There’s a reason why people’s individual lives are how they are, and you do have some effect and affect on anyone’s life you come into contact with, but you’re not responsible for their prosperity. Just your own.

  23. Poppy says:

    Oops, meant Birks, not the Berkshires.

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