My coaching client Andrea has struggled with issues of lack and poor self-worth for much of her life. Although she is smart, spiritual and attractive, she has regularly feared that she would become impoverished and bereft. She told me, “Whenever I drive under a bridge, I check it out to see where I would set up cardboard boxes for myself and my kids to live in, in case we lose it all.”
I asked Andrea if she was in danger of losing it all, and she firmly answered, “No.” This dear woman has always been provided for, and even as a single mom she has manifested various means of support. But the fear of not enough has siphoned off her happiness. In coaching, we underscored the fact that Andrea has always had enough for herself and her children, and there is no reason that would change. But fear is not based on reason. It is based on illusions.
I see the same tailspin fantasy in many clients, as well as myself. When faced with a challenge, our mind goes to the worst thing that could happen, and we start preparing for it. When I ask clients who face a difficult situation, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” they usually have a well-prepared list of possible dark outcomes. When I ask, “What’s the best thing that could happen?” they usually take a while to think of an answer. They are so practiced in pessimism that optimism hasn’t crossed their mind. When we start to explore positive outcomes, the client’s demeanor changes radically, he gets excited about opportunities, and he begins to activate them by stepping in healthy, productive directions.
It’s not just challenges that stimulate fear. So does success. The ego will take every opportunity to wedge itself into our experience and turn blessings into problems. When something wonderful happens, we may start to think about what could go wrong. United Airlines once sent me an unexpected gift of a free round-trip flight anywhere. I went to my travel agent and asked him if the award was for real. After reading the terms of the award, he affirmed, “Sure, you can use this anytime anywhere.” I kept double-checking with him until I walked out of his office, the ticket he printed in hand. When I finally took that flight, it represented to me the reality of grace, and reminded me that I must let it in.
When you think, “This is too good to be true,” immediately shift your affirmation to “This is good enough to be true.” In the big picture, only the good is true. Everything else is a warped perspective. A Course in Miracles tells us that only love is real and all else is a nightmare we have fabricated. Fears of lack and loss are part of the nightmare. Confidence in well-being and the presence of benevolence is the awakening.
When things get really good, some people wait for “the other shoe to drop,” expecting that some threat or challenge is lurking around the corner. This is another trick of the fearful mind, a limiting belief calling us to transcend it. What if, instead, we decided that something good happening is a sign that more good, perhaps even better, will come? Inspirational author Mike Dooley says, “When something good happens, the chances of something equally good or better following it increase astronomically.” Abraham-Hicks calls us to affirm, “the better it gets, the better it gets.”
The motto of the Boy Scouts is “be prepared.” Good advice. The question is, “What are you prepared for?” If you are preparing only for disaster, you miss out on preparing for blessings. You cannot be preparing simultaneously for failure and success. Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters.” Either you are placing your canoe in the stream of love and trust, or you are placing your canoe in the stream of fear and protectiveness. A Course in Miracles asks us to remember, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” The more we defend ourselves, the more we need to defend. The more we recognize we are protected by Higher Power, the more energy we liberate for creativity and healing.
Do what you need to do to feel safe. Have insurance, lock your door, and choose a secure password if your find those acts helpful. Meanwhile, consider where your real safety comes from. Are you sustained by money, position, medicine, prestige and possessions? Or are you sustained by the grace of God? Use the things of the world, but fall back on the Source of all good.
A business mentor told me, “Act as if success is inevitable.” People who act as if success is forthcoming succeed more than those who worry about failing. A salesman friend of mine based his career on “the assumed close.” Treat all of your customers as if they are going to buy. They may not all buy, but more will buy than if you treat them as if they may not buy.
The universe is created in utter enoughness. God is not stingy, but extravagant. Everything created contains the seeds of much more like itself. It is said, “A person can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” When we recognize the riches within us and around us, we don’t have to size up freeway bridges as potential shelters. We can see bridges as symbolic of crossing the chasm from abysmal lack to lavish supply.