“I don’t have enough.” Where does lack come from?

“I don’t have enough.” Where does lack come from?

Have you ever wondered where the feeling of lack comes from?

I used to believe it was an objective measure.

X amount of dollars in your bank account means you have enough and below X means you are lacking.

X amount of clothes in your closet means you have enough and below X means I have nothing to wear.

My son comes home from yeshiva and looks in the fridge and says there is nothing to eat.

My other son comes home from school and says there’s nothing to do.

Is the feeling of lack coming from money, clothes, food, boredom?

It’s an illusion that our feeling of lack comes from something outside of ourselves. The only way we could experience “I don’t have enough” or the feeling of lacking something is if we have thinking about it.

It’s our thinking about money that creates a sense of lack. It’s our thinking about clothes that creates a sense of lack.

We make up for ourselves where that arbitrary line is drawn between lack and satiated. How do I know?

Because there are times my son looks in the fridge and thinks there is nothing to eat and there are times he looks in the fridge and takes something out to eat. Nothing changed. Same fridge. Same food.

There are times I go online and buy something because I need it and feel pleasure from that and there are times I go online and buy something I need and feel pain at having to spend money.

When I have a lot of thinking about spending money (that I perceive I don’t have), it’s painful to even buy a drink at the pizza store when I know I could get if for a quarter of the price at Shop Rite. When I don’t have any thinking about it, I buy two pies because it’s always good to have some in the freezer (for my son who says there is nothing to eat).

Our feeling of lack waxes and wanes as our thinking about things shifts. As our relationship to our thinking shifts, the intensity of the feeling of lack shifts too. As this happens, we are pleasantly reminded that we all have what we need and for the moment we feel content.

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By Aviva Barnett, MSW



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