I've been in a long relationship with myself. I've watched in wonder at how resourceful, capable, confident and loving I can be towards myself. And I've learned that I have some stories that hold me hostage to some negative thinking that attacks my wellbeing and derails me from living with the passion and integrity that I value. They tell me I am a loser, impulsive, distracting and not good enough.
These are stories about how others are seeing me: my physical appearance, how much I talk, the choices I've made. Stories about where I failed to show up for my son, my siblings, my extended family. Stories about opportunities I missed and what I'm not doing enough of.
Most of us have stories like this that sometimes nudge out the reality of accomplishment and presence. And they are just stories. While there is usually some element of truth in all our stories, they are not ever the whole truth. It becomes a 'habit' to trot these stories out when they can do the most damage. In our most vulnerable states, we open up the evidence drawer and pull out the stories that confirm what we are believing in the moment; that somehow we are not measuring up.
What if the stories we told had a different ending? What if we hear the first rumblings of self-negating and we Pause. That's Pause with a Capital P. Pause to breathe, Pause to slow down, Pause to give ourselves a moment or two to connect with our body and spirit. What if in that moment we acknowledged that there is more to the story than what we are hearing. As my friend's mom said "You weren't perfect but you mostly got it right." I love that. We were not perfect and never should have expected that of ourselves. But sometimes our stories try to convince us otherwise.
Consider a story you have about yourself that is draining you of joy and peace. Take a good look at the facts and ask yourself what gifts of wisdom you can draw from it. Ask yourself if this is really the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Find within the story both empathy and acceptance of who you are including all the ways you are precious. This is how you start using the stories you tell yourself about yourself to build inner resilience. I'd love to hear how you turned a story into a gift.
Ms. Daryl Wood, CPCC is a fearless champion of No-Drama Living and Inner Resilience for Women in Leadership.