We all lie to ourselves. If you think you never lie to yourself, you are lying to yourself. The problem is, we don’t always know that we are lying. Sometimes we don’t do it intentionally, these lies are based on beliefs that we actually think are true.
I’m too much. I’m not good enough (smart enough, thin enough, perfect enough…). Everyone thinks I’m a burden. No one will like the real me if I show it to them. Who’s going to want to hear from me?
Power of Looking at Your Stories
These are all stories that you are telling yourself that you BELIEVE are true. But are they really? Too much for whom? Not good enough for whom? Who’s voice is telling you these things and why are you believing them?
Looking at your stories AS STORIES can be really powerful. What happens when you question your worthiness? What happens when you start to figure out whose beliefs these really are? You were not born believing these things about yourself, someone in your life told you these stories and you believed them.
How would your life look if you decided these stories weren’t actually true? This is the power of looking at the stories that you are telling yourself. These stories typically hold you back, keep you small, and keep you from living your full life.
Read more on this in this blog post, “Growth and Clarity: Power of Self-Reflection.”
What’s Behind the Stories?
Stories like these are beliefs about ourselves that we’ve picked up along the way, often during childhood. Sometimes these stories are based on survival, or feelings of worthiness. Sometimes these stories are about feeling/not feeling seen or heard or loved.
When you survived a childhood that was unpredictable, or if you had parents who weren’t emotionally available, often you are left with ideas about who you are based on that. If I am perfect, maybe my parents will love me. If I act out, my parents will notice me. Staying small, quiet, and out of the way, will keep me safe and I won’t piss off my alcoholic parent. And so on.
These are stories that our younger selves needed to survive. But they no longer serve us as adults, they simply hold us back. 10 year old me needed to feel loved when my parents divorced so began my perfectionism. The story behind that was if I am perfect, I will be loveable. What is actually true is that I am loveable, even as messy and imperfect as I am. I deserve love just as I am. Especially from myself.
How to Look at Your Stories
You might be asking yourself, but how do I know what lies I am believing? First, notice your internal self-talk. What are you saying to yourself all day long? When you start paying attention to that, you can begin to question it. Whose voice is that really? It might have belonged to a parent or teacher, but it’s not your voice, there is another voice below yours. No, you are not too loud. No, you aren’t bothering anyone by asking for what you need. And if someone tells you that you are too loud or bothering them, then that is about THEM not YOU.
Sit down, close your eyes, and take 5 deep, slow breaths. Then imagine a time when you felt bad after an interaction with another person. Ask yourself why you felt bad and continue to feel bad about it. You don’t need an answer quite yet, just pose the question. What is the story in your mind? Write it down, in a journal or on a piece of paper, and read it back to yourself. Imagine a friend read that story, would they believe that about you? Is it actually true?
Start to write, stream of consciousness, about who told you these things about yourself. Write them a letter and tell them how their words made you feel and what is true instead. Let your feelings flow out onto the page. This is not a letter you send, just one that allows you to feel your feelings so they no longer hold you back. You can do this as many times as you need to let go of your stories and start living as you were meant to live. Fully and completely as yourself.
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