Underlying many of our greatest fears in life is the feeling that we will be abandoned, left out. That there won’t be enough of something left for us, and our needs will be forgotten. We’ll get trampled or left behind, unable to fend for ourselves…
Maybe we weren’t loved enough as a child. Maybe we were hungry, helpless, vulnerable… However it is for you, the message is always that “somebody’s got to lose, and if you don’t scramble, you’ll be the loser.”
Thinking like this is the understandable outcome of having previously felt deprived or violated. But it very often becomes a state of mind in far more ways than we realize.
The conditional if-then mindset is a response to fear of scarcity, in which love and kindness is given in exchange for a guarantee of something, rather than without any preconditions. Love becomes an object to barter and trade, like gold. The more you give, the less you’ll have. And sometimes, if somebody is really desperate for this love-gold, they might try to hack it out of someone else like gold is hacked out of a mountain… and that’s where a lot of trouble starts.
True love is boundless and infinitely abundant – but only if you believe it. If you think all love is conditional, your whole outlook will orient toward scarcity, and you will project a subtle negativity in your interactions. For all the smiling you do, on the deepest level, you will exude a sense of conditionality.
Truth is, we get conditional all the time. Sadly, even if you can get in touch with a sense of unconditional love yourself, you can’t count on others to be this way, and loving unconditionally cannot attain its full power unless it is replenished and recycled. But often, what you can do is admit where you are being conditional and why. This will help you and others that you interact with to strip away fears and connect more cleanly… in other words, be more unconditional. Both your best friends and a good deal of those you do not particularly care for will see the difference, feel it, and respond in kind.
Of course, you don’t want to trust just anybody. That’s why it’s so important to have good friends, people you love and trust, who love you too – many of them, or at least a few.
Revenge and blame are other symptoms of the scarcity mindset. When things are down, rather than believe that we can work together with others, we fall into accusations and deal in units of crappy energy, because once we accept the dichotomy of “either A or B,” we forget that we have the option not to think this way.
Jealousy is often a symptom of this mindset also. Ultimately, we get jealous when we are afraid we’re about to lose something or somebody; something tells the person affected by a hit of jealousy that they must act quickly, or lose out on something forever. The overwhelming majority of time, this is an overreaction – but the fear is very real, and it often comes from a place of having been severely hurt in the past when something was lost forever.
Nothing is ever completely guaranteed in life. But if you can begin to consciously distinguish people and situations that make you feel that love and kindness are boundless from the people and situations that make you think of love and kindness as hard to come by, your faith will grow stronger and your sense of inner peace will grow, once you realize that you can do better than either-or thinking.