What stories do you tell about yourself? Do you ever get stuck in them and feel confined? Have you been tangled up in a life story based on how you’ve described yourself? I have caught myself doing this many times.
I’ve seen some get stuck in the story that their busy professional life has kept them from having a personal one. I’ve also seen a young adult define themselves and say they are the way they are because of their peers or parents.
The stories we tell ourselves and others may or may not be true since our stories are interpretations of our experiences. As we continue to have similar experiences and interpret them in the same way, the more the story gets ingrained as “this is who I am.”
When we do this our stories suffocate us. So, let’s end the habitual cycle of defining ourselves from one-dimensional perspectives. It limits our potential as creative human beings.
We all know that it’s human nature to look for evidence to support our story so we go about our day, often on automatic pilot, reinforcing them.
I’m reminded of a young adult with learning challenges. He was receiving seemingly innocuous feedback that he was “stupid” and “slow.” Quite often from his sister he heard, “I can’t believe you don’t get that.” or “Normal people would understand. You’re such an #@*&%.”
I remember a particular conversation where he indicated he wouldn’t do something because he was stupid and slow. Of course this was an excuse for not even trying. He cited his performance at school and his sister’s comments as “evidence”. In other words, he bought into the story. He was using the story as a justification for his performance in all areas of life.
Having none of that, out of the blue I asked, “If I said you are a car, would you go out and fill yourself up with gas?”
The obvious reply was, “No, I’m not a car.”
I then asked, “Well, how do you know you’re not a car?””
(His response: Teen eye rolling while nodding his head sideways)
This opened a new conversation, as it was pretty obvious he was not a car.
In that moment, he became aware of “OPW – Other People’s Words”. He saw that he could buy into the story or be undeterred by it. We only had to shine the light in a different spot to see evidence that he is capable, brilliant, and smart.
We concluded by taking a moment to release the confines of his story and in that moment he became present to the possibilities all around him. Now he is a well-adjusted successful businessman and husband.
What would happen if you put the story you’re telling yourself on hold? What if you did it for a day or two? Imagine putting it on pause and choosing to marvel in the moment of living without the limiting beliefs of what you “should” or “ought” to do?
If you have a sense that you are more than the story you’re telling yourself and you are wondering what the next chapter of your life might be, join me on my FREE live teleclass on February 18th, Creating a Roadmap to the Rest of Your Life. It’s time to break through your stories – register now at www.drliz.ca/create.