What stories are you telling yourself? (Part two) Last month I talked about the story I told myself about my weight being the reason I couldn’t run anymore. The stories we tell ourselves can be so hard to discover much less dismantle. We often look for evidence to support the stories we make up. You can thank your brain (who really prefers the status quo) for that one.
We look for evidence of our stories and then we continue to confirm them when we find such evidence. Once we have confirmed the story enough times, we put the nail in the coffin and say that this story is now our "personality."
These stories are NOT your personality. For instance, being bad with money is not a personality trait. It might not even be true.
Here’s how it goes. You were told at some point in time that you were bad with money. Or the thought popped in your head that you were bad with money. Or, if you are a woman, the media joked in movie after movie, show after show, on billboards and in songs about how women aren’t good with money and now you have THE STORY. Then every time you check your bank account and see less money than you had hoped you confirm THE STORY. Every time your kid goes without something because you can’t afford it, you confirm THE STORY. Every time you don’t go out to dinner, every time you buy the store brand when you want the name brand, every time you can’t pay rent, you confirm THE STORY.
Even though you somehow managed to pay your way through college. Even though you made your measly paycheck last all month in spite of gas prices going up. Even though a CFO at a Fortune 500 company couldn’t even fathom the mental gymnastics it would take to make that money last the way you did, you still confirm THE STORY.
Then you make THE STORY part of who you are. “I’d love to apply for that job but, I’m not good with money.” Or I’m a jealous person. Or I’m lazy and unmotivated. Or I’m too “whatever” to do “whatever” it is I want to do.
I once saw a news story about how prices were going up and they interviewed this woman. They asked her what she was doing to make ends meet and she said, “I quit buying paper towels.” WHAT? LOL.
It seems simple but it is something that her kids didn’t need to live, that wouldn’t hurt her family emotionally or intellectually not to have, and that would save her some money each month. What an intelligent, inventive person to come up with this simple solution!! And yet, if an outsider heard her story, they would probably say she is bad with money.
This week I challenge you to listen for your STORIES. The negative narratives that you have convinced yourself are true. Once you discover them, start asking yourself for evidence to the contrary. Dismantle those stories and start over fresh.
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