I think deprivation is one of the most dangerous feelings out there.
It might be worse than scarcity. Here’s the distinction. Scarcity feels like there isn’t enough to go around. Deprivation feels like I’m not worthy of what’s all around me. When you see abundance everywhere, but you don’t believe it’s earmarked for you, it can lead to unhealthy and even harmful behaviors.
Perhaps an addiction so you can get a quick fix to avoid how horrible it feels to not be deserving of what other people possess, like abusing food, obsessive phone use, or something even more serious.
Maybe a rebellion where you grab at the thing you desire because, “Dammit, I DO deserve it.” That could be as small as buying something you can’t afford on credit or as big as stealing from your employer.
People say that a scarcity mindset is why you see someone win the lottery and then not be able to hold onto the millions. I wonder if it isn’t actually deprivation though. Squandering it away to prove to themselves and the world that they are, in fact, worthy of the things they want.
Deprivation can be tricky for me.
As a kid, I had a feeling that when something was kept from me by other people or God, it was because I was somehow undeserving of it. I had this intense longing for all the good stuff other people were experiencing. That still shows up for me sometimes.
I even have this entire battle within my own mind. Maybe I decide that denying myself something is for my higher good, like foregoing a frivolous spend or eating less junk. The intention is completely healthy but that doesn’t mean deprivation won’t get the best of me. Why can’t I have, do, be, achieve, or experience what other people do with such ease? Why not me? What’s wrong with me?
What helps me keep myself from acting on that deprivation with self-sabotage is focusing on what I’m bringing in instead of what I’m missing out on. What am I inviting into my life by sacrificing this thing?
“Sacrifice” is a better word anyway.
It implies giving something up to gain something better. But “sacrifice” can easily turn into martyrdom so maybe it’s not the perfect word. Perhaps “trade” is better, like I’m trading in this thing I want for this other thing I want even more, and for better reasons. Trading feels like there is more of a pay-off than just sacrificing.
Frankly, I think we do have to sacrifice sometimes. We have to acknowledge that trading one thing for another is a reality. But let’s call it a trade-up rather than a trade-in because we’re gaining something that is for our higher good and best life so it’s worth what we have to deny ourselves. (As long as it IS for our well-being.)
What you need is clarity that your desire is aligned with love of yourself.
It also helps to focus on the end result rather than what you’re missing out on right now. And maybe some accountability. That always helps. Oh, and cheerleading. Celebrate every step you take that gets you closer to what you want.
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