It’s the time of year when it is easy to become overwhelmed with expectations, scarcity, and the demands of the season: gifts, food, and decorations. My brother Joe always gives the kids awesome (and expensive!) gifts. Will my kids even notice the presents I give? Did I buy enough food? I probably need more crescent rolls if all of my nephews show up. Will my mother think I decorated enough? Maybe she’ll think it’s garish and over-the top. Things would be so much better if I had some sort of cooking skills, a bigger house for entertaining, or if I had just finished decorating last weekend.
There has always been a lot of talk about manifestation principles and abundance. They’re ancient topics, really. Hundreds of years ago, we wondered how we could turn lead into gold. In the twenty-first century, there has been a lot of chatter about how to do this, that or the other thing to get more money, find the love of your life, or enhance your health.
Abundance comes in many forms (financial, relational, spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, creative, etc.), and almost everyone wants to cultivate it in some way. Many think they lack it or believe that abundance is external in origin – in other words, something to be sought after and attained.
Personally, I don’t believe that abundance has much to do with the “yang” principle of action. Rather, I feel it has everything to do with the “yin” concept of receiving and allowing. It is less about doing, about getting, and more about resting and being. Let me explain.
True Abundance – Breaking it Down
To me, abundance comes from the internal realization that you are what you seek. You are love. You are financial wealth. You are creatively gifted. You have intellectual prowess. You are spiritually connected. And this is all true, here and now.
- Did you hug someone today? Did you pet a dog or a cat? Did you kiss a child as they got on the school bus this morning? Then you experienced love.
- Did you eat today? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have clothes on your back? Then you are wealthier than 75% of the world.
- Can you read and write? If so, give thanks. Approximately a billion people on this planet are not literate.
- Did you cook a meal for your family? Did you write a note to someone or post something encouraging on a friend’s Facebook wall? Did you scrapbook or doodle a cute little picture on someone’s birthday card? Then you are exercising your creativity.
- Did you balance your checkbook? Help a child with spelling homework? Do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle? Then you harnessed the powers of your intellect.
- Did you take a moment today to just breathe? Did you thank God for something? Did your heart smile at the beauty of a flower or a sunset? Then you were bathed in Spirit.
Breaking down abundance into simple, yet powerful, examples helps us to understand all that we truly have. Being grateful, being open to receive abundance, and having an expectancy that life is full of everything we might ever want to experience, comes from a sense of internal worthiness.
If you ask any mental health professional to identify the basis of excellent mental health, they’ll likely say a healthy self-esteem. In fact, decent self-esteem has been linked to better health and social outcomes, and poor self-esteem is associated with a broad range of mental disorders and social problems, both internalized (i.e., depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc.), and externalized (e.g., violence). (Health Education Research, Vol. 19, No. 4, Oxford University Press, 2004).
The schematic of unworthiness lays hidden just below the surface, in our subconscious. But, if we pay attention to what we say and to what we’re currently experiencing in our lives, we’ll discover the blueprint for what we really believe about ourselves and about life, generally.
If we talk about ourselves or others disparagingly, our self-esteem is probably low. People with decent self-esteem see themselves as deserving and capable, and don’t waste their time speaking poorly about themselves or others. If we don’t believe we have enough of something – money, love, time, whatever – then it’s likely that, subconsciously, we feel unworthy to receive the very thing we say we most desire. If we don’t feel worthy of something or someone, we keep ourselves from it. It’s that simple.
Reprogramming the Subconscious
Good news! We can elevate our self-esteem. There are many ways to reprogram the subconscious and move a negative self-image toward a positive one. One of the best ways to do this, and a technique that is favored by both self-help gurus and psychologists alike is through the use of affirmations. The idea is to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative (and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between, as the old song goes). Author and publisher, Louise Hay, says that the only real issue underlying any apparent problem is a lack of self-love. Thus, an affirmation such as “I love and approve of myself completely” (said repeatedly to reprogram the subconscious) has the potential to change us internally, and thus, the way we experience our lives.
Affirmations aren’t the only tool available to help reprogram the subconscious. Other modalities exist to help with this task, such as EFT (emotional freedom technique, also known as “tapping”), hypnotherapy, regression therapy, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), Hoffman Process, among many, many others.
As we do the work of changing our internal landscape, our external landscape will change as well. When these inner beliefs begin to show on the outside too, we project confidence to others and tend to only let in or accept things and life experiences that affirm our new found self-esteem. We get the promotion, the raise or the girl. In other words, “you’ll see it when you believe it,” according to the late Dr. Wayne Dyer.
For those leery of self-help, this isn’t all feel-good, California “woo-woo.” Psychologically speaking, when we selectively place our attention on identifying and increasing our own worthiness, we tend to focus on things in life that enrich our self-esteem. Then, when experiences or circumstances (the promotion, the raise, or the girl) support our increasing inner self-esteem, we utilize confirmation bias as proof that the affirmations (or whatever modalities we’re using) are working. (This is my extrapolation of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.)
Abundance comes not from doing more, getting more, or becoming more. We already have abundance and it is within ourselves. When this is hard to see, or we get knocked down by feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, or low self-esteem, there are steps we can take to rebuild:
- Identify subconscious beliefs, patterns and thoughts
- Reprogram our subconscious through affirmations (or another modality)
- While enjoying enhanced self-esteem, and still using affirmations, we are more apt to recognize when we receive external validation of our worthiness and experience increased abundance.
This year, choose to give yourself the gift of an abundant life.
Suzanne E. Grandchamp