The opposite of scarcity

“For me, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It's enough.”

-Brené Brown

Today I was talking with a friend who’s known me a long time. I was describing to him some aspects of my relationship that I deeply appreciated, and that, quite frankly, I felt surprised to be appreciating as much as I am.

A little context: my whole life, I felt I was searching for the feeling of being truly seen; of being recognized and deeply understood. It was as if I needed someone else to see every part of me, every single molecule, in order to reflect me back to me and confirm that I truly existed, that I was here, that I made sense, and that I was in fact good.

Before I found my current relationship, I found that person that I thought I’d been looking for. In his presence I felt naked, completely stripped down to the vertebrae, my soul’s components. We talked and analyzed and tore apart every little thing in our shared spheres of vision. It was enthralling, it was affirming, it was… exhausting. This was an incredible time in my life and I am immensely grateful for it, for the many things I learned, of which there are at least 100 more blog posts that could be written. One thing I can say about this relationship was: it was the max.

This was the max I’d ever revealed myself to anyone. The max I’d let someone in, the max I’d let someone take the wheel. It was as if I’d been waiting by the door my whole life, unsure anyone would ever want to come in, and then someone not just came in, but moved right in all in one go.

And I realize now that the reason this unfolded the way it did, the reason I let it, stemmed from a scarcity mentality. I was so certain no one would be interested in what I had, that no one could ever understand me, and deep down that I’d never be able to understand or acknowledge myself, and therefore put all the burden of validating my personhood onto some yet-to-be-encountered human.

When a person who fit this bill did finally show up, I treated him like a messiah. In a lot of ways, I gave him the responsibility for creating the boundaries of my personhood. And when he left, I fell apart.

I’ve done a lot of work since then. I wouldn’t let someone that deep into my inner house again, and honestly I’m not sure I’d want or need to. I’m at home in my house now. I’ve learned to let myself in, to invite myself to get comfortable, to enjoy the fresh madelines and lavender-scented tea and my book collection and slippers. It’s kinda weird in here but it’s pretty good too.

My current partner: he is an excellent guest in my psyche’s home. He doesn’t know where I keep the tiny forks, or what’s taped to the back of the vintage painting in the stairwell. There are folds and crevices to my inner life that he doesn’t need to know, is fine with not knowing.

The appreciation I was surprised to be feeling that I mentioned feeling earlier? That’s it. I’m surprised at how cool I feel about it. Creating a boundary that says “this is my inner world and I don’t need you to reflect it all back to me for me to be able to own and appreciate it.” You see me, you accept me, and you love me, and that is enough for me. The rest is on me, and I’ve got it covered.

Gillian BenAry