Last week we all watched as Jazmine Sullivan won her first two Grammys. The long overdue and well-deserved win was a huge moment for the singer/songwriter and the Black women who felt seen in every song on Heaux Tales. Her win also seemed like a huge moment for H.E.R, who was also nominated in that category. The embrace the two shared as Jazmine walked to claim her award was truly heartwarming. The joy, pride and genuine happiness was almost palpable.
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The embrace, the moment backstage when H.E.R. told Jazmine if you win then I win and the subsequent coverage on social media reminded me of how important it is to share in each other’s wins and root for each other— *cue Issa Rae’s I’m rooting for everybody Black*. All of it also reminded me of my struggle with having a scarcity mindset, so while I felt joy watching these two women love on each other, I felt some shame knowing that that kind of embrace could have been hard for me, and honestly at times may still be a bit hard. It isn’t that I would not be happy for my peer or friend, it’s just that my feelings of disappointment in myself would be all consuming. I’d be disappointed that a goal I had set for myself wasn’t achieved, disappointed that my friend’s win could possibly mean that there was no room for me to do the same.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint where this obsession with lack came from. I suppose it could have started in college as I began my journey into adulthood. During those years boys who weren’t quite men heavily influenced how I felt about myself. Not getting “chose” while another girl was, made me feel like I was missing this magical thing that made me worthy of love and affection. Yes, I know there are “plenty of fish in the sea” but at the time if another girl got the fish I thought I wanted, or even worse needed, it seemed like the sky was falling, like the sea was in fact, experiencing a drought, nearly dry, leaving no fish for me.
As I got older and my priorities shifted, my struggles with a scarcity mindset only grew, now encompassing men and career goals. After leaving undergrad it was almost as if we were all in a race to get it together, to prove to our parents, who had sent us away to become functioning, successful adults, that we did not waste their money and the last four years of our lives. The feeling of lack with career goals grew as I watched those that I graduated with settle in their careers, careers that I admired but was possibly too afraid to go after because it was something they already had. With each win my piece of the pie seemed even smaller.
Now, as I approach 30 and attempt to decide what my next move will be professionally, I realize that it is this very mindset that has been holding me back from the life I truly desire. After a lot of therapy and several breaks from Instagram, it became clear that being discouraged to even try because of the “there is no room” fallacy, or the thought that I was behind, was not going to get me anywhere close to this experience of abundance that I had craved for so long. Am I the positive affirmation all-day kind of woman? Not even close. However, I will say that I am making the effort to think and speak positively about myself, both in the present and in the future.
Growth and lack cannot coexist and there is only room for growth from here on out.
If you are like me and have struggled, or continue to struggle with having a scarcity mindset, here are a few tips from Diamond Jones, MSW, of 5feettall, that will help you shift from thoughts of lack to thoughts of abundance:
Comparing yourself to someone else could quite possibly be the hardest habit to break but you have to remember that in YOUR story, there is no other main character.
When you are surrounded by people who are in a season of success or abundance you can be met with conflicting feelings of happiness, jealousy, and inadequacy. Those feelings of inadequacy can cause you to both think and speak negatively about others and yourself.
Budget your time and emotions
When we work towards a goal we do not often think about creating realistic and flexible timelines. Make the time to understand your bandwidth for certain things or think about how long you can spend working towards something before it gets to be too taxing or simply, unenjoyable. It is okay to pivot as many times as you need to. It is okay to let go of something that you once thought you wanted; it does not make you a failure. It does not mean that you will never find yourself in the spaces that you desire.
Being open to a multitude of experiences and opportunities can lead you to places you never imagined, places that will allow you to thrive!