A new thought struck me yesterday. I'm a master at delayed gratification. I'm the person who will make the gift cards I receive at Christmas last until the following November or December. I know how to stretch things out and "make the most" of them. But is this practice of delaying gratification for myself delaying gratification from the Universe?
I don't typically make rash decisions. In fact, when I go shopping it takes longer than anyone else I know because I have to carefully weigh all the options, try on multiple sizes of the same thing, contemplate colors, not to mention prices. This is why I go shopping alone. I wouldn't want to put anyone else through the torture. Plus, I can relax and take my time when I'm alone and not feel like I have to hurry for someone else's sake.
But my point is, while it may look like I jump quickly (and in fact, I have said that I jump quickly into some things... and sometimes I do), with the "little" things in life I tend to put off and delay receiving them, delay gratification, as long as I can.
In some ways this can be good. If I get an inkling of a feeling that I want a latte, for example, I don't always run out and get one. If I did, I'd be spending way more money at the coffee shop, not to mention gas to get there and back, on top of consuming something unhealthy on a frequent basis. So when I get that inkling, I let it sit for a bit. I ask myself if I really want that latte right now. Really, really? If yes, then I go get it. But more often than not, while it may sound good, I don't really, really need to have it... so I don't. Of course, the upside of this is, as I mentioned, those gift cards I receive last quite a while!
But yesterday I got to thinking about why I do this. Why I delay gratification, or tell myself I don't really need it, or convince myself I don't really want it.
Two things came to mind.
1) Feeling like I don't deserve whatever goodness, or "unnecessary" item I'm wanting.
2) Fear that if I spend money on that "unnecessary" item, I won't have money later for either something I actually need, or something I want more.
It's really more number two than number one. And it's that fear of not having enough money... or of running out of money... that made me look at the big picture -- the Universe.
If I'm so focused on money, and believing that my financial pool is limited (and not all that deep), then isn't this creating that very reality? If I'm so concerned with not running out of money, that I conserve, pinch pennies, and "scrape by" all the time, then isn't this creating more of that?
So what's the alternative? Spend with reckless abandon? I don't necessarily think that's the way to go either, but surely there's some middle ground.
The thing is, I always prided myself in being frugal. In watching what I spend. In choosing the $50 cell phone, for example, instead of the $250 one that my sister just purchased. Or in choosing the $45 pair of running shoes at Kohl's, instead of a higher-end running shoe from a running store. Not that these choices or this type of action is bad... I certainly don't think it is... but I'm wondering of the farther-reaching implications of living my life this way.
I'm so frugal, and carefully weigh any and all purchases, is the Universe being frugal with me? In being frugal with what I spend, is this creating a frugal sense in regards to what I receive?
I don't know what to do about this though. I'm working on my thoughts. I know I deserve to be wealthy and never worry about money. But what about my actions?
It's the whole "chicken or the egg" dilemma. Which came first... living abundantly (spending and giving more) in order to receive abundantly... or receiving abundantly, and then giving/spending abundantly?
Do I live more abundantly... not worrying so much about every dollar I spend... and live by the belief that if I live abundantly, abundance will come? Or do I live "responsibly" and not spend more money until I make more money?
We've all heard "live within your means." That's a motto I've always done my best to stick by. But if I'm constantly living "small" (because my means are quite small right now), how will I attract that huge success and abundance?
Maybe that's it. Maybe that's the answer. Stop being afraid of running out, and enjoy what I have. The truth is, I have more than I need right now.
I have a bad habit of constantly worrying about the future. How will things turn out? Will I eventually bring in more money? Will I sell more books? What if I don't earn more money, then what?
Fear, fear, fear.
I need to find a way to step outside the fear. Appreciate what I already have. Appreciate it and enjoy it. Enjoy the abundance that is present everywhere.