Do you ever pay attention to the stories that you tell yourself?
I bet you if you reflected on it, you have probably told yourself a dozen or so of them already today.
“Those people are looking at me funny. I shouldn’t have worn this shirt and I won’t wear it again.”
“My boss questioned me today about my proposal. I’m not qualified for this position.”
“I didn’t get the job. I don’t think this is the field for me.”
I recently attended a weekend workshop intensive, and one of the topics that really resonated for me was about the stories that we tell ourselves and how we allow them to run amok on our lives.
Somehow and without even knowing that we are doing it, we are able to create these elaborate fairy tales or tragic nightmares out of simple events that occured that have nothing to do with the ending that we have given it.
When I think back to childhood, I recall a time when my sister and I both drew pictures, and as siblings do, we asked our parents which one was better. My sister won our little contest hands down (which could have been because she was nearly five years older than me, but I digress…).
This led me to a story that I was not creative or artistic and I held that racket in my head for nearly thirty years.
Can you believe that?
I held myself back from even considering trying new things because I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t creative when I was five years old.
A decision I made when I was five years hold was holding me hostage at thirty.
Ever since I’ve been listening to countless events with similar stories;
“My father left when I was a baby so I must not be lovable.”
“My family struggled financially while I was growing up so money will never come easy to me.”
“A teacher told me my handwriting was messy so I will never be a writer.”
The lists and examples could go on, but the stories remain the same. I’m sure that each and every one of us have countless stories of our own that we tell ourselves everyday of things that we have told ourselves since childhood and we have accepted them as fact.
What I’ve learned from this experience is to try to differentiate the fact of what actually occurred from the story that I have given it.
In my case it was simply my sister drew a better picture than me. No where in that event did my mom tell me that I wasn’t creative or artistic and that I should stick to math.
That was simply the story that I associated to the incident.
The good news is, once you become aware of these fables and can recognize them as such, you will realize a whole world of potential is out there for the taking.
And I hope you also realize, like I did, that you will no longer let the decision of that five year old, rule the rest of your life.