Underearning Thinking – Hoping Others Will Take Care Of You

It is good to read the 12 Symptoms of Underearning, not so much to understand the disease, but to learn to spot it in your own life.

1. Time Indifference – We put off what must be done and do not use our time to support our own vision and further our own goals.

2. Idea Deflection –We compulsively reject ideas that could expand our lives or careers, and increase our profitability.

3. Compulsive Need to Prove – Although we have demonstrated competence in our jobs or business, we are driven by a need to re-prove our worth and value.

4. Clinging to Useless Possessions – We hold onto possessions that no longer serve our needs, such as threadbare clothing or broken appliances.

5. Exertion/Exhaustion – We habitually overwork, become exhausted, then under-work or cease work completely.

6. Giving Away Our Time – We compulsively volunteer for various causes, or give away our services without charge, when there is no clear benefit.

7. Undervaluing and Under-pricing – We undervalue our abilities and services and fear asking for increases in compensation or for what the market will bear.

8. Isolation – We choose to work alone when it might serve us much better to have co-workers, associates, or employees.

9. Physical Ailments – Sometimes, out of fear of being larger or exposed, we experience physical ailments.

10. Misplaced Guilt or Shame – We feel uneasy when asking for or being given what we need or what we are owed.

11. Not Following Up – We do not follow up on opportunities, leads, or jobs that could be profitable. We begin many projects and tasks but often do not complete them.

12. Stability Boredom – We create unnecessary conflict with co-workers, supervisors and clients, generating problems that result in financial distress.

I’ve had more than my share of success in life but I’ve not been able to sustain prosperity. I qualify for this program.

I suspect that everybody had some lack in childhood that haunts them through adulthood. For me, growing up in foster care for my first four years, it has left me with tendencies to insecure attachment, and for an insatiable thirst for attention and nurturing. Several girlfriends have said to me, “You just want someone to take care of you.” I remember one girlfriend in particular would get worn out from spending the weekend with me because I was just so needy. Well, now that I think about it, I’m sure many of them were worn out by my neediness. At first, it probably spoke to their desire to nurture, but then it became tiresome.

In the weeks before my collapse into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in February of 1988, I walked around bent over, with a class schedule of 27 units at Sierra Community College and nearly a fulltime job as a gardener, and under the strain, I kept muttering to myself, “I’m gonna break through or I’m gonna break down. Either way I’ll get the love that I need.”

That’s classic under-earning thinking.

Another example is feeling so tired that you hope to get into an accident so you can rest for a few days.

Last week I was immobilized by back spasms for a couple of days. Ninety eight percent of me hated that, but 2% of me felt, well, at least now I’ll get the nurturing and care that I need.

I suspect this type of thinking has played a factor in my many collapses over the course of my life (with my family bailing me out most of the time).

Every time I’ve fallen in love, it’s been with a fantasy. I wonder if I am capable of loving a real person.

I know I can be sailing along fine, and then if one prop under my life gets kicked out or disturbed, I’m dying to porn or to act out in other ways.

I want to love God. I have such a distant relationship with Him. I treat Him like a necessary evil.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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