Change Your Story… or Become It!
We all have stories… for EVERYTHING in our lives. We’ll call them stories, because that is exactly what they are – our version of a narrative about ourselves, our circumstances, or events that have occurred in our lives. Some of the stories we create are empowering and help us go after what we desire in life, such as the story, “I can do it, whatever it is.” This story provides the storyteller with a determination that if they want to accomplish something, they will figure out how to do so, learn what they need to learn, get the help that they need, and then obtain their goal (sometimes easily, sometimes not so easily.) Unfortunately, some of the stories we create limit us greatly in going after what we desire, such as, “I can’t do that [whatever “that” is].” We’ve created a story, for whatever reason, that limits how we see the ourselves, our circumstances, and the world around us.
Let’s dive a little deeper into these limiting stories that we create – believe it or not, we’ve created them because they benefit us in some way. For example, how does the story “all the good ones are taken” (meaning you’re single and there’s no one out there for you) – how does this story benefit you – if this is one that you have or had? If there aren’t any “good ones” out there – you don’t have to try. Might as well give up. Here’s another one I’ve heard, “I didn’t get the position or the promotion because they don’t like me” or “they already have someone in mind for the position so I might as well not apply.” There may be a hint of truth in some cases behind this story, but let’s look at what benefits it provides the storyteller. The person telling this story doesn’t have to try as hard because they are doomed from the start. In addition, they don’t need to do any self-reflection to see what areas they need to work on in their personal or professional development because it is beyond their control. All of these stories gives the storyteller an out – they don’t have to do anything to rectify the situation because it is beyond their control. Folks – this is not a powerful way to live! Behind all of this is a fear of failure. What if we pour our heart and soul into going after what we desire and we fail? What if we work on ourselves for years and that special someone doesn’t appear? What if we do everything we possibly can and still can’t obtain that position that we’ve wanted for years? A bit scary and we need to quit lying to ourselves because it’s taking away how truly powerful each of us can be.
How can we get that power that we’ve been giving away back? First, we have to identify that the story is limiting us. This is fairly easy to do because it comes out as an excuse or explanation for not doing or accomplishing something. Listen to your self-talk when you are feeling angry or sad – or the bitch fest you’re having with colleagues, friends, or loved ones. What words are you using? Once you identify a story that is holding you back, analyze how it is benefiting you. For example, if you feel that all the good ones are taken when you desire a relationship with someone, you realize that you don’t have to really put yourself out there and try. Then decide what story you’d like to replace it with – perhaps that there are several good ones out there, you just haven’t run into them yet. Every time you find yourself going down the negative self-talk or bitch fest with others rabbit hole, stop yourself and start stating the new story. You will eventually come to believe it and then take action based on the new story – like changing your routine, going to places where you can meet new people, figuring out where that special someone may hang out based on values or experiences you’d like to share with them – there are a world of possibilities that open up when you change your story.
Changing a story takes a lot of time and effort, especially when you are very comfortable in the current story. Sometimes, however, you have to become the story in order to change it. What does this mean? Become it? Let’s explore two different areas I’ve seen this successfully implemented recently. The first one is the example that all the good ones are taken. Let’s say that you are having too much trouble changing it because it’s benefiting you too well. So you commit to fully becoming it – all the good ones are taken. So what does one do? They focus on loving themselves, enjoying time alone, building relationships with close friends and family, and/or bonding with a beloved pet. They immerse themselves in their communities and build connections with others. Hmmm… isn’t that also a great way to meet someone special? Here’s another example of a story I often hear – I can’t lose the weight. So to become this story, one would agree – I can’t lose the weight. As long as they are healthy, why do they feel that they need to lose that last 10 to 20 pounds? Own the story that was created. What does this look like? Learning how to be happy in your own skin, taking care of yourself, getting a flattering wardrobe at the weight you are at, work on building your confidence and self-satisfaction.
There you have it folks – your call to action for today is to identify those limiting stories you are telling yourself. (I can guarantee each and every one of us has several, so you better not be saying to yourself that you don’t have any!) Once you’ve identified those that are most limiting – decide you are going to take back your power and either change the story, or fully become it!