The stories we tell ourselves - and why they're holding us back.
By Amy Crawford
Does your internal chatter sound a bit like this? You can’t possibly have it all… You won’t find true love because you’re not pretty enough, smart enough and funny enough… You might never succeed because you’re not GOOD ENOUGH…
The stories we tell ourselves - about ourselves - are who we become. We live out our own false story plots as if they were our truth – but they’re not. Because we believe in our own stories, we keep letting them hold us back from pursuing our dream careers, finding love and achieving our goals.
So, imagine if we started telling ourselves a different story. What if we changed the story, threw out the old one, the one holding us back, and began a whole new chapter. Wait, let’s write a whole new BOOK.
First, it’s about awareness. Listen to your self-talk and watch out for statements that start with ‘I always…’ and ‘I never …’ These deeply ingrained assumptions we’ve made about ourselves are the ones getting in our way.
It’s time to stop letting them. Here’s how …
Catch the storyteller
The conversation you’re having in your head is a ‘dress rehearsal’ or future imagining so you can prepare yourself for whatever life throws at you. But here’s the thing – it’s not your TRUTH. It’s not any truth. So, it needn’t cripple your courage and hold you back. If you’ve read my article on our needless worry then you’ll know we spend time in our heads imagining possible outcomes in order to prepare and protect ourselves. Start listening to that internal dialogue and watch for the Story. Ask yourself ‘Is that actually true or something I’ve made up?’
Catch the storyteller - the critic in your head. Now edit out what no longer serves you. Shut it down. Press mute. If this was social media, go ahead and unfollow.
Identify the proof and truth in it
When you hear that self-talk ‘I always …’ stop yourself and ask ‘Who says?’ and ‘Where’s the proof?’ If it hasn’t happened, it’s not the truth. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, if it’s simply future imagining – then it’s not fact. Stop and think how complete and factual this story actually is. Where is it coming from? Often our deeply entrenched stories are from childhood. Perhaps we weren’t assured we were good enough, often enough, and we are somehow certain in adult life that it’s true. It’s time to identify that, and let go.
Lose the plot
Yes, it’s time to drop that old story plot where you had yourself failing or falling down. Not quite achieving what you wanted because your old story had you believing you’re not quite good enough for it. You always do this or that? Nope, you don’t. Your story is about to change. Scramble that plot in your mind. Cut it up. Consider it yesterday’s fake news.
Write a new story – starting today
Let’s imagine something different. Consider the same internal dialogue you’ve had with yourself (for way too long, let’s face it) and then change the ending. Change the middle too. You didn’t chicken out, mess it up or shrink back to where you were before. You turned up, nailed it, felt like a hero. Hmm, a hero in your own story – that’s worth working on.
What is your desired outcome? A successful career, true love, happiness and fulfilment…Write down the words for it in a positive encouraging way. Then visualise yourself achieving your desired outcome.
Instead of ‘I always…’ and ‘I never …’ let’s try these…
I can have ...
I have the courage for this.
I’ve got this.
I’m good enough for …
I’ll end up achieving THIS.
Then I get to make … happen.
I have everything I need to...
I’m waaaay GOOD ENOUGH to be the hero in my own story.
I deserve the best outcome possible.
So go ahead, rewrite your story – and change your life.
Need a little help? My CTC sessions are designed to not only identify the stories we tell ourselves that are holding us back (stories that have become your truth) and then remove them. You can learn more about my life transforming CTC sessions here.