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Scarcity vs. Abundance

Note: Any political views expressed here are mine alone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent budget proposed by the president, which includes cuts to a number of important programs.

I realize this may seem like an odd thing to bring up in a blog about food and weight issues, but it reminds me of something I focus on with mindful eating, namely, the difference between a mindset of scarcity vs. abundance.

Many of us who struggle in our relationship to food have a scarcity mindset, where we feel like we need to have as much as we can now, because maybe another time we won’t have as much as you want or need. Whereas having an attitude of abundance means you learn to trust that there will be enough later, so in any given moment, you don’t feel compelled to take more than you need.

These types of mindsets apply to more than food, and unfortunately, it seems to me that our current administration has a scarcity mindset.

This is problematic for a couple of reasons. One is that feeling like there’s not enough can mean that you leave others in a position where they truly do not have what they need. For instance, cutting programs that help fund Meals on Wheels could bring actual food scarcity to our elderly, which is so much worse than perceived scarcity, because in those cases, you have no recourse. You have to go hungry.

Some of the other cuts are to programs that nourish us in other ways, among them the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Community Learning Centers. These may not seem related to food, but consider that these programs help nurture us in deeper ways and can help us avoid reaching for food or other substances as a way of self-medicating.

And in general, we do not make good choices when we act out of fear. This often leads to a negative feedback loop, where what we do only engenders more fear, anger, and misunderstanding.

All of this is sobering, but what saddens me even more about the proposed budget is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Those of the us in America are fortunate enough to live in a land of plenty. We have enough to make sure no one has to go hungry, if only we can remember that and share those resources accordingly.

Which is why I would like to encourage as many people as possible to move away from the idea of scarcity and to embrace an idea of abundance, to remember that we can share with others and still, we will have enough.

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