• emsteinbrink

When the jeans don't fit... Choosing abundance over scarcity.

Updated: Aug 22



This morning, I went into my closet to get dressed. I had already decided I wanted to wear a summery tank I love with my favorite Madewell hi-rise flare jeans. All was well until I pulled on my jeans only to find that somehow they seemed to have shrunk a size. I wiggled them over my hips and barely zipped them up, but it felt like they were going to burst at the seams. I felt and looked like a sausage.


Could I pull these off, I wondered? What happened? I had just worn these jeans less than a month ago. Did I accidentally wash these on warm instead of cold, I thought? Did I accidentally dry them? Nope. I NEVER dry my jeans. What is going on here?


Sadly, after going through all the scenarios, I was left with one last option. My body had changed.


For a moment standing there in my too-tight-to-breathe jeans, I was completely deflated. My confidence sank. I felt horrible about myself and I started with the negative self-talk. (As an enneagram 1, I'm always WAY too hard on myself.) I had been working really hard to UP my eating game (and DOWN my over-processed snacking game) the past week, so surely that made a difference. If I'm honest, I was feeling better physically, too. But here I was, standing in my favorite jeans feeling worse about myself, even after all that progress I'd made.


In this moment as I felt myself spiraling downward, I knew I had a choice to make:


1. Allow my negative thoughts to take over and run on auto-pilot, unchecked. (aka, SCARCITY) Or,

2. Attend to my thoughts, and decide intentionally how I want to react in this moment. (aka, ABUNDANCE)


Choosing option 1 would mean I let the jeans win. I let the facts and conditions of that moment (that my jeans didn't fit) steal my happiness. Steal the progress I had made that week. Ruin my self-image. Ruin my self-confidence for the day. Ruin my mojo. And probably ruin other people's day (because when I don't feel great, I don't show up as my best self). Sadly, this choice propels a mindset of scarcity.


Breńe Brown states that "Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants. The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness."


Furthermore, she says,

"Our culture of scarcity is defined by this sentence:

"Never _______________enough.

It only takes a few seconds before people fill in the blanks with their own version:

  • Never good enough.

  • Never perfect enough.

  • Never thin enough.

  • Never powerful enough.

  • Never successful enough.

  • Never smart enough.

  • Never certain enough.

  • Never safe enough.

  • Never extraordinary enough.

In the case of my too-tight jeans, what scarcity thought am I adopting?

I am not thin enough.

I am not working hard enough.

I am not beautiful enough.

Simply, I am not enough.


The list could go on and on.


Choosing option 2, I am in control. I get to decide if a pair of too-tight jeans is going to ruin my day. I decide intentionally that the fact that the jeans do not fit today does not determine my beauty, my self-image, my confidence or my value. I decide to trust in how I am feeling (that I've made progress!) and let that drive me to keep working towards a habit of healthy, conscious eating. I choose a mindset of abundance knowing that I could list so many things I am proud of and things I have accomplished, not allowing one simple fact to derail those accomplishments.


And what would Breńe have to say about this?


"To transform scarcity we need to cultivate worthiness, a clear sense of purpose, and we need to re-engage." - Breńe Brown

Standing there in my favorite, but now too tight jeans, I made a choice. I tossed those jeans aside and picked out an outfit I felt great in, right now, and never looked back. I hate to imagine how my day would have gone had I entertained the scarcity-driven option 1. Instead, I cultivated worthiness by not allowing one fact deter my sense of self. I re-engaged and took my thoughts off autopilot, attending to my thoughts consciously and questioning them. I centered on my purpose which is to love and accept my body as it is, instead of falling prey to our culturally-indoctrinated image of beauty, and to help women do the same.



Shifting from lack to worthiness...


Ladies, I share this story because I know it's a common one for so many women. We allow a size that we don't prefer, or a once favorite clothing item that no longer fits, ruin us. As if our self-worth and our beauty were dependent on it.


One of the most common objections I hear when talking to women about a style transformation is that they can't do it right now because they are planning to lose weight, and don't want to make the investment in themselves now until they have reached their goal weight.


Hold up right there. Did you just hear that? "I don't want to make the investment in myself until..." You fill in the blank.


Imagine living your entire life like this. Assuming we aren't worthy of good or nice things until we reach "X" goal. Denying ourselves joy or pleasure on the daily until we were worthy. There goes that scarcity mindset again!


In Lynne Twist's book, The Soul of Money, she refers to scarcity as “the great lie.” She writes:


"For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of.…Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn't get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack.…"


Trust me, changing our thoughts from a place of lack to a place of worthiness and abundance takes work. And choosing to throw those too-tight jeans to the side took work, too. Five years ago, it would have ruined my day completely.


No matter how much I evolve or how much work I do, I am always confronted with thoughts that tempt me to stay safe, to stay little, to stay afraid, to stay scarce. So I rehearse. I rehearse gratitude daily - without fail - to remind me of all I have instead of what I lack. I rehearse positive feelings instead of negative ones. I rehearse consciously choosing my reactions to what life throws at me instead of relying on old habits of thought. I rehearse positive statements about my body that uplift me rather than tear me down.


I love Breńe Brown's antidote to this feeling of lack...

"The opposite of scarcity is enough." - Breńe Brown

If I do nothing else for my clients and my followers on social or for those reading this blog or listening to me speak, I want women to know and deeply believe they are enough just as they are.


I am committed to helping them embrace their bodies and their beauty and their self-worth by getting them dressed in things they love and feel good in, and removing whatever is holding them back and taunting them in their closet. Whether they are at their ideal weight or size makes no difference. Seize the day, ladies! Let's feel amazing in our bodies right now!


As for me and my too-tight jeans? Well, they are going to have to wait for another day. For now, they will stay out of sight, and out of mind. And I'm going to continue to rehearse a more positive self-talk whenever those pesky, ugly, unhelpful thoughts come along.


Here's a few mantras and guidelines that I consistently follow to help me stay on track. Feel free to steal one or all of them for yourself!


  1. Beautiful is not a size.

  2. You aren't the problem. The clothes are the problem.

  3. If an item of clothing in my closet doesn't make me feel good or doesn't fit, it's got to go.

  4. Trust the facts. Whenever I feel like I'm failing, I write down 5 things that I'm proud of or I have accomplished.

  5. List 5 things you love about your body. Repeat daily to yourself for a week.

  6. Decide first who you want to be. Don't let facts or conditions or circumstances drive who you are. That's the definition of true freedom.

  7. You are enough. (Thank you, Breńe!)


I'd love to know... What mantras or thoughts help you in these moments? Drop a comment below and tell me!




Ready to transform your closet - and yourself?


I'd love to work with you on creating a closet that makes you feel good as you are now. Learn about my Style Transformation service where you'll get a complete style overhaul - complete with defining your own personal style that is unique and authentic to you, detoxing your closet and removing what no longer serves you, curated shopping for items that represent you and your life now, and then putting it all together into digital style boards that will ensure you never have to worry about what to wear again. Want to know more about this service or ask me questions about how it works? Set up a free 30-minute style consult at a time that works for you.

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