Inside of each of us is a stack of books filled with tales, tragedies, comedies and everything in between—most of which we’ve written. We’re constantly spinning stories about who we are, what we deserve, what we need, what we are capable of (or not capable of).
These stories inevitably affect the decisions we make and the actions we take. Which is why it’s so important to pay attention to the sagas we create and tell ourselves, many of which we’ve been creating for years and years. Because what if that awful story you’re telling yourself about your supposed inadequacies and inabilities isn’t even true? What if the stories you’re writing are sabotaging your satisfaction and fulfillment?
What are you telling yourself right now? What do you tell yourself throughout the day?
What story do you tell yourself when you start something new or unfamiliar? You might be starting a new project at work or cooking something you’ve never cooked before. Maybe you instantly say that you can’t do it. Maybe you put yourself down. I’m so incompetent. I don’t know what I”m doing. As always. I’m such a mess.
What story do you tell yourself when you wake up? Maybe you spit out some version of I can’t handle today’s challenges. Ughh, another day to run around and barely get anything accomplished. Ughh, another day on the hamster wheel.
What story do you tell yourself about your weight? About what you deserve? About what you can and cannot eat?
What story do you tell yourself when you spot more wrinkles around your eyes, around your mouth, and on your forehead?
What story do you tell yourself when you slip up? Maybe your mind instantly goes to I’m a failure, instead of I can learn from this.
What story do you tell yourself when you forget to pay a bill, or take too long doing something?
What story do you tell yourself when you’re stressed out and weary? Maybe you tell yourself that you need a glass of wine to soften the edges of your overwhelm. Maybe you tell yourself that everyone else in the world can do things without freaking out, and yet you can’t get yourself together. As always.
What story do you tell yourself when you’re afraid or anxious or angry or sad? Do you allow yourself to feel these feelings? Do you berate yourself for having them, wonder what’s wrong with you and instantly shut them down?
So often we don’t even realize the stories we’re writing, but they still show up in the words we say, in the activities that make it onto our schedules, in the people we surround ourselves with, in how we navigate the day to day, in how we care for ourselves (or not). Which, again, is why it’s so helpful to pause and reflect—and possibly reconsider.
Jot down a recurring story, and reflect on whether it’s supporting you—and whether you can revise it. Maybe you can ask someone you trust to help you with your revisions. Maybe you can change your perspective: Think of your best friend or your child or a younger you carrying this story. How would you change the narrative? What would the story say if you let kindness and compassion create it?