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GETTING OVER OUR POVERTY MENTALITY
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
If we're honest with ourselves, most of us would probably have to admit that we have a lot of stuff - too much stuff, in fact. As Susan said in her writings, "There is a strange addiction in our society today. I call it the addiction to more...more...more. Sound familiar? More clothes. Bigger houses. Fancier cars. Exhausting!"
Yet we all seem to collect and hoard more and more. No matter what income bracket, so many of us have full closets and cupboards...and still we want more. Susan called our need to have more...more...more a poverty mentality or poverty consciousness. We fill up our lives with stuff, out of fear of not having enough. Buying and keeping so much stuff makes us feel as if we are improving our standard of living. We put a premium on "filling" our lives up with things.
When we hang on to clutter or things we don’t use anymore we are playing into the needs of our lower selves. We feel there isn’t enough - enough clothes, enough furniture, enough money, enough anything. We use stuff to feel fulfilled, but accumulating and hoarding will never make us feel as if we have enough. In fact, it does the opposite.
Susan said that accumulating and holding onto stuff only succeeds in bogging us down. In order to get more, we end up working more and stressing more. We struggle to relax. The upkeep of our lives leaves us little time for play and pleasure.
Our self-created burdens are very heavy, indeed.
Our lives could be so much richer if we let go of the stuff that weighs us down, that satisfies the needs of our lower self. We should cultivate lives that are filled with riches that take us to a higher place - relaxing with friends and family, reading books, exploring hobbies that enrich our lives, taking the time to contribute to the world, and so on.
It is not about filling our lives with "stuff," but filling our lives with those experiences that bring us joy. Raising our standard of living is truly about accumulating less and enjoying more!
Susan’s rule for herself was: Use and enjoy only that which enriches your life; let go of that which is just excess baggage.
We need to change our mindset from more...more...more to less...less...less!
To start letting go of all the stuff you’ve accumulated, look around and see what you have that you don’t need anymore. Start with a closet. How many clothes, shoes, hats, scarfs, coats and jackets do you have that you never wear or haven’t even thought about in years? Susan recommended making a game out of it and discard as many "unnecessary weights" as you can find. You’ll be surprised by how much you have to give away!
And it is important to give it away or donate it to a charity. It becomes easier to give away your hoarded items if you know that you will be helping someone improve their life. You can then be a source of abundance to someone else and can make a difference. By becoming the "giver" instead of the "taker," you will ultimately feel lighter and better be able to see what you truly need.
To help with the process, Susan recommended this affirmation:
I have enough. I am letting go.
Repeat this to yourself as you work to clear out your excess things. As you repeat these two important thoughts, you will loosen the need to hang on to things and will be much better attuned to knowing what you truly need. Repeating this affirmation is important, for old habits are hard to break, especially our need to have more...more...more.
And remember, that as you reduce the amount of things you’ve accumulated, it is not a free ticket to go on a shopping spree. Getting rid of the excess in your life is a lesson in learning to live with less, keeping only what you truly need, and understanding that your poverty mentality is keeping you from living in your higher self.
As an added bonus, as you learn to let go and live with less you will be helping the environment and the planet by consuming fewer items. As Susan said, "That should be enough of a grand motivator to get us all going!"
Copyright © 2014 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.
Adapted from Susan's writing in End the Struggle and Dance with Life.