I am a queen of unsolicited advice… which is worth exactly what you pay for. But once in a while I say something that resonates with people and one of them asked me to write about it in my column.
It has been exactly a year since our world was forever changed by COVID 19. Lately, I have been reflecting on 2020, how we reacted, and what I learned.
Throughout the pandemic, our dog park in Key West remained open. Many of us who went to the park were in the high-risk group and most of our conversations centered around fear. Fear that there would be no food in the grocery store because we were literally the end of the line in America. Fear that this virus would kill us or loved ones. Fear that there was no CPE or sanitizers to protect us. Fear of empty shelves where cleaning supplies, cold remedies, meat, eggs, produce, dairy, and paper products used to be. We dared not go into the grocery stores. Empty streets, empty beaches, empty restaurants.
Each day we talked about a new scarcity, a new fear. Our conversation devolved into basic survival.
Then one day one of my favorite members of the dog park showed up with homemade masks for everyone. She created masks made of paper towels and rubber bands.
In that moment, everything shifted. We became a group of people who believed in abundance and not scarcity. Each day someone showed up with a new product that was hard to get or shared a story about how to find something. We shared everything: toilet paper, meat, CPE, homemade masks, homemade hand sanitizer. There was so much sharing that there was an amusing moment when someone asked for eggs and three people were competing to give them to her. Anything that someone needed became an opportunity to give. And nothing feels better than sharing when you have a view of abundance.
The scarcity was merely a projection. Our courageous health care workers, supply chain workers and manufacturing were working through the pandemic. In fact, there was no scarcity of toilet paper, merely a fear of it. And that scarcity view caused people to hoard, preventing neighbors from getting supplies that they needed.
The same applies to psychology. Many of our fears and anxieties comes from a scarcity viewpoint. (There is no job, there is chance for love or friendship, I don’t have enough money.). Switching to an abundance perspective allows many of these fears, anxieties and worries to go away. (There are plenty of good jobs, there are plenty of nice people, I can live within my means.) It is just that simple.
Now, of course, having an abundance viewpoint does not stave off tragedy, or address mental illness, or hunger, or many world problems.
But we live in an abundant country. Americans are the most generous people on earth. And if we can look at our worries and our anxieties from a perspective of abundance, many will fade away. So ask yourself, is my worry, fear or anxiety based on a scarcity view? What would happen if I changed to an “abundance” view?
That is the advice that a friend asked me to share with you.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.