We are all authors. Maybe not published, but authors just the same. We tell our own life stories, or pieces of them anyway, every day. And those stories either place new thoughts and beliefs in our heads or reinforce the stories we have told ourselves before. Those stories either move us forward, keep us in place, or, sometimes, move us backward.
So what stories are you telling yourself today? Here are 4 that you must stop telling yourself.
1. There is so much wrong in my life.
This is a good story start, and we can ruminate on this every day all day. We can have a chapter on our failed relationship; we can have a chapter on how much we dislike our job or our boss; we can have another chapter on how broke we are and how we can’t afford a nicer place or car; and we can have a great concluding chapter on how there is nothing we can really do about our circumstances.
With this story you keep telling yourself, you are just stuck. And nothing in your life will change because you are already seeing yourself as defeated.
Getting out of a defeatist mindset is not easy, but it can be done. Look around at your friends. Which of them is moving and growing and is optimistic about his/her future? Confide in that friend and tell him/her that you do want to make some changes, but you don’t know how.
Pick one thing from your list of woes, and set a goal that your friend hears you set or helps you set. Now, someone else knows that you have this goal, and you can’t really take it back. With that friend’s help, develop a plan to change just that one thing.
Now, someone else knows about your plan. You own it. That friend will now become your conscience – reminding you of what action you need to take, encouraging you, and keeping you focused.
If you get one thing changed for the better, you have the “battle” won. You know you can take charge and make a positive change.
2. This is really not a good time to make any changes.
In this story you keep telling yourself, you have several chapters on such things as you are too young to make a leap into starting your own business, or you are too old to take any risks at this stage in your life. A chapter might be on the fact that you have too many obligations right now, and you cannot take on anything new.
Still another chapter relates all of the reasons why you can’t go back to school right now, or look for another job, or walk away from a bad relationship. You are in a box that others define as fear and/or procrastination. Whichever it is, you do need to start crawling out of that box, maybe very slowly and maybe only in baby steps.
One thing that might help is to make a list of easy things you could do right now that would move you just a bit closer to making this a good time. Maybe just one course on the weekends; maybe saying “no” the next time someone wants your help. Perhaps you could spend some time online studying how people turn their good ideas into a business.
3. It’s all ________(fill in the blank) fault.
So your father abandoned your family when you were very young; so your mother just didn’t show you love or care for you as she should have; so your partner left you and threw you into a major “pity party.”
This tale is all about slavery and lack of accountability. We can have several chapters about how people and events have caused us to be the way we are, and that we can’t do any better because of them.
We’ve been traumatized; the father who abandoned us scarred us for life; that boss who fired us was a hateful person who just didn’t like us, and now we can’t find another job in this economy. When you let someone else’s behavior control your emotions, your thoughts, and your behaviors, you are a mental slave to that person. They are in complete control of you.
And this thinking means you don’t have to take any responsibility for your state in life. How convenient. Except for one thing. It’s a big fat lie that you keep telling yourself. Unless you are in prison, you can make choices about what you do with your life. You can make a choice today to do a couple of things.
First, you can choose to forgive those in your life that you believe have wronged you. This takes time and a lot of reminding yourself, but you must do it. And as you do, you will feel a huge burden lifting – it is really so liberating. And once you do that, you can accept the fact that you are in control of you. What would you really like to do right now? How can you make that happen?
Get your plan together. And when you find yourself slipping, remind yourself of a recent event. In the summer of 2015, a young man walked into a Bible study class on a Wednesday night. He shot up the place, killing several people. The surviving family members and friends show up at his arraignment and publicly forgave him.
They will never be slaves to hate and evil, and they will move on. If they can forgive in those circumstances, you can too.
4. It’s not right to be so self-centered
Really? This is a common tale, and it stems from a deep-seated and long-term cemented belief that we should sacrifice for others, especially for those we love. Everyone makes small sacrifices for others. A mother goes without a new pair of shoes she really wants, because her kid wants something, and she can’t afford both. These are understandable.
But, if you are sacrificing who and what you want to be because of what others may think or how others may be left out, then you have gone too far. Being selfish can be a very healthy thing.
It lets you pursue your goals, not live the goals that others have for you. Making choices about what you want to do should be calmly but resolutely explained to others. These choices may mean you are not around as often or that you leave town. So be it – it’s your life.
Something to Remember
When you find yourself falling back into telling yourself those old stories, here are two quotes to make your mantra:
“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.” ~ Walter Drake
“Don’t die with your music still in you.” ~ Wayne Dyer