A Poverty Mindset or an Abundance Mentality?


As often the case at mass, my pastor Father Jirak preached as if he were speaking directly to me and knew to the minute details the current circumstances in my life. Expanding on the familiar loaves and fishes gospel story, he advanced that generosity–going above and beyond the basic expectations–is the hallmark of excellent relationships. An obstacle to generosity is a poverty mindset.

A poverty mindset is the deep seated belief that there is not enough—not enough time, things, people, goods. It is rooted in a deficit in faith. A poverty mindset leads to coveting personal time and resources rather than sharing them freely with others.

In contrast, an abundance mentality is based on a root conviction that there is more than enough to meet and surpass all of our needs. The person embracing abundance trusts that God will provide even in bleak-looking circumstances like Jesus did when he miraculously provided the crowds all the fish and bread they needed.

Awareness of whether we or those around us are operating in either a poverty or abundance mindset guides us to know what actions to take. For example, if we are in a close relationship with someone with a poverty mentality, the direction we should take (responding to them with generosity) is the opposite of what would come natural (retreat and pull back from their negativity). If we are prone to a poverty mindset, we can work to catch ourselves thinking in terms of what won’t be provided and reorient ourselves to start trusting that God has and will continue to provide for us.

Not only can shifting to abundance catapult our relationships to a higher level, exposing and systematically dismantling the poverty mindset in and outside of us can literally change the world. See how building on abundance helps an apostolate, an organization created to share the gospel and build Christ’s kingdom, take off in my next blog.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Honestly assess where you are relative to a poverty or abundance mindset.