Wanna hear a story?
Oh, wait you’re probably already in the middle of one. The one you’re telling yourself. Because that’s what we do, all day, everyday.
We tell ourselves stories about everything & everyone. Sometimes it’s obvious. Like, when you analyze why someone didn’t text you back…..or what they meant when they did.
But, most of the time our stories are so subtle & so pervasive, we don’t recognize them as stories.
Your entire perspective is based on stories you’ve told yourself for so long that they’ve become your beliefs, your programmed, automatic thoughts.
These beliefs are so ingrained in you, that to you, they are just who you are. It feels like there’s nothing you can do about them.
This is because these thoughts just show up in your mind without consciously choosing them.
Some of these stories are great & help you create an amazing life…..some are not so great.
Two of my own lifelong stories have shaped my life in very different ways.
One has been a very helpful story. It’s based on my absolute belief that I’m capable of succeeding in any job or business that I choose. I have no doubt that I can learn & execute anything necessary to achieve that success.
My professional life has reflected that belief as I continue to succeed despite challenges & setbacks I’ve experienced. I just keep going with 100% confidence in my abilities & skills.
My story to myself about work is always the same. I’ve got this. No matter what.
The other story that I’ve told myself throughout my life is that I’m unworthy of caring, acceptance & understanding.
I don’t literally say this to myself. But it’s been the constant undercurrent of my life.
I never assume the best, or even something neutral. My story is always that I’m worthless.
Those thoughts happen instantaneously. I don’t consciously create this story. This story is being told to me, by my programmed habits of thought, my belief about myself.
I have very logical reasons for having this belief. I was programmed to believe that I had no worth.
For 20 years, my father told me that he abused me simply because of who I was. That if I was different, better, not me, then he would treat me better, that he would love me.
And I developed as a person with the belief about myself, that I didn’t deserve to be cared for or accepted for who I was.
So, anytime anyone treated me in a way that didn’t feel good, or left room for interpretation, I believed it was because they didn’t care about me. Why would they? I was worthless.
I used to be unaware I was telling myself this story. I was completely caught up in it, feeling the emotions of it & reacting to it as though it was true.
But I’m aware of the story now. It doesn’t rule me anymore.
The instantaneous thoughts do still happen, but not all of the time.
However, when the story does begin, my awareness of it, is almost as instantaneous as the thoughts themselves.
And with awareness comes choice.
I can choose to go with the story, I can create a new one or I can redirect my attention to something entirely different.
Conscious choice requires awareness. When your attention wanders & you lose your awareness, your beliefs, your programmed habits of thought take over.
Sometimes that’s ok, sometimes it’s not. It depends on the program.
I decided I no longer wanted to tell myself the story that I’m worthless because it’s not true & it hurts me & it makes parts of my life suck.
I didn’t put that belief in my mind but I sure as hell was perpetuating it.
And now, I’m not. But, I work at it. Every day. It takes dedication to change a core belief.
It’s a very simple process. Notice your thoughts & feelings. Take a pause. Make a choice.
Simple, but not always easy.
Growing your internal awareness so you can see what stories you’re telling yourself is the first step. And for me, it was the hardest part.
It took me many years to be able to realize that just because I was having a thought didn’t mean it was true. I was unable to separate myself from my thoughts. I was my thoughts.
Once I was able to just sit quietly & watch my thoughts, I was able to choose.
But I couldn’t go from believing I was worthless to believing I was worthy. It was too great of a leap. It didn’t feel true at first.
So, I made, what I call, bridging thoughts, to help me get there.
For example, at first I couldn’t say, I accept myself no matter what. But I could say, I see myself, one day, accepting myself, no matter what.
That felt true. So, I practiced that thought. Proactively. Like building a mental muscle.
Eventually that thought came easily to me. Then I was able to move from saying that, to saying I accept myself, no matter what.
And it feels true. But I definitely falter in it & go against myself sometimes….well, many times.
I’m working on this thought every day. Repetition is necessary to create a new program.
I love it when I make mistakes now because it’s a chance to practice accepting myself, no matter what.
I know that soon my story of worthlessness will be gone, but until it is, I accept myself just as I am, no matter what.
What stories do you tell yourself? Are they true? Are you sure?