Scarcity Mindset: Healing African American Trauma for Black History Month

Sunny Jae🌻
4 min readFeb 9, 2024

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Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

I’ve fallen victim to the scarcity mindset because of my environmental upbringing, and now, as an adult, I realize how slow of a process changing your mindset can be.

After digging myself out of depression due to this negative mindset, I’ve decided to talk about it because I feel like we all are living in scarcity without even realizing it.

Photo by Seema Miah on Unsplash

What is the scarcity mindset?

The scarcity mindset is a psychological perspective where individuals perceive resources as limited or scarce, leading to feelings of insufficiency, fear, and competition. People with a scarcity mindset tend to focus on what they lack rather than what they have — believing there’s not enough to go around.

For example, the place I was working closed down, and they only told us the day before closing. My place of work closing was a shock to me, and I immediately went into survival mode and was scared that there wouldn’t be enough work to go around when, in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A scarcity mindset often leads to hoarding, overcompensating, or overly risk-averse.

The scarcity mindset can hinder personal growth, satisfaction, and success because it limits the ability to see and pursue abundance and opportunities. This dramatically affects the African American Community, but the goal is to focus on changing that and inspiring others to do the same.

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How does this apply to the African American Community?

Scarcity may show up in several different ways.

  1. Economic opportunity: historically, black people have faced barriers to accessing economic opportunities, such as discriminatory hiring practices, unequal pay, and limited access to education and capital. This can foster a scarcity mindset regarding financial resources, making people feel that there are limited opportunities for economic advancement.
  2. Education: Education disparities include unequal funding for schools in predominantly Black neighborhoods and systemic barriers to higher education. This contributes to a scarcity mindset around educational opportunities, leading individuals to believe there are limited chances for academic success and upward mobility.
  3. REPRESENTATION: The lack of positive Black people in various industries such as media, art, music, and positions of power can force a scarcity mindset by creating a perception that there are limited positions of power and recognition in society.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Health and well-being (higher chronic illnesses, health disparities, and limited healthcare options, additionally: not being supported by doctors and medical staff)
  • Criminal justice system — racial profiling, harsh sentencing, disproportionate incarceration rates.
Photo by Anomaly on Unsplash

How we can remove the scarcity mindset AS BLACK PEOPLE:

  1. Awareness: recognize when scarcity thinking arises and think of positive moments in life. This leads us to our next point…
  2. Gratitude Practice: focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. Be grateful for all you have, even if it’s a little bit or not all you want. Focusing on your life’s good things will slowly help your mind change.
  3. Abundance Mentality: Embrace an abundance mentality; know that there are plenty of resources, opportunities, and success. There are money and resources for everyone, so I think there needs to be more for you, too.
  4. Positive Affirmations: Use positive affirmations to reframe your thinking and reinforce abundance beliefs. Affirmations such as “I have all that I need,” “Opportunities are abundant,” or “I deserve abundance in all areas of my life” can help replace scarcity thoughts with more empowering ones. Affirmations are great for reminding yourself of gratitude and abundance.
  5. Focus on Solutions: Instead of dwelling on the problems, find solutions. Seek out opportunities for growth and improvement. Figure out what you need to do to solve your problems.
  6. Invest in Personal development: Learn new skills, pursue higher education or training, seek mentorship or guidance, or invest in yourself. This could also be small things like running in the morning, drinking a smoothie instead of a heavy meal, investing in a new hairstyle, or getting a manicure.
  7. Surround Yourself With Positivity: Surround yourself with supportive and positive influences. Limit exposure to harmful or scarcity-oriented environments and media that reinforce limiting beliefs. This can be hard because sometimes it’s hard to tell who is on your team and in your corner, but when you trust your intuition, you’ll know who is spreading positivity around you.
  8. PRACTICE GENEROSITY: Practice generosity by sharing your time, resources, and talents with others. Giving freely can reinforce feelings of abundance and interconnectedness. A part of me feels like this is one of the more critical parts of abandoning the scarcity mindset because when you’re generous to others and those around you, people WANT to help you.

In Conclusion:

Changing a scarcity mindset is a gradual process that requires patience, self-reflection, and consistent effort. If you adopt these practices and actively challenge your limiting beliefs, individuals can cultivate a mindset of abundance and create more significant opportunities for success and fulfillment.

Always,

Sunny❤

Watch the video version of this article!

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Sunny Jae🌻

Writing my way through life while focusing on the evolution of self, mental wellness, and inner peace.