What's the story you're telling yourself?
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how frustrating it is when goals for nutrition,
movement and mindfulness are set and then not met with success. This happens for a myriad of reasons but understanding why and how to adjust our actions to yield the desired outcome seems like a monumentally uncharted territory.
A 'life happens' label is commonly placed on this occurrence. There was a period of time that I found myself using this 'life happens' mindset when my life seemed to be filled with unending happenings that left me with very little energy or rest to allow me to feel like I was or could actually live my best life. So, there I stood in the doorway of my post-divorce home wondering why I chose to rent a 4 bedroom fixer upper.
Prior to moving in, I thought having a consistent chain of projects would keep my mind occupied from processing any remaining sting of signing those dreadful papers. It was great, for awhile, and then I began noticing that I wasn't making time to prepare meals and instead ordered takeout daily. I had no movement outside of the house so my level of fitness diminished day by day. This was a tough one because being active and strong was a cornerstone for me even during those difficult years. I also had virtually no time spent relaxing. I didn't curl up on the couch to watch my favorite shows, no reading books and I barely talked to anyone. I was surrounded by a home that was literally consuming all of my energy and realized that I felt like I was on autopilot. I wasn't living my life. My thoughts kept repeating 'life happens'. What does this even mean? Isn’t life always happening?!
Yes! Life is always happening in our cells, our cell signals, our actions, thoughts, reactions, interactions…you name it; life is HAPPENING.
The interesting thing about capitalizing on this notion of life ‘happening’ is that we are writing a story each time we take action. We make a decision to live for active engagement in our lives just as we decide to live on the autopilot setting. The story that we tell ourselves is a reflection of our perception of our environmental circumstances. Whether we experience something good, like earning a promotion at work or endure something negative, like getting fired from our job or falling short of our goals time after time, the story crafted in our mind often becomes stuck on a cycle of repeat.
What kind of story is being told here?
It’s probably some version of ‘I’m good…for now’ or ‘I did it, what’s next?’ or ‘I could try, but what’s the point?’ or ‘Someone else would be better for this, I’m not worth the effort’.
We tell ourselves these inherently positive, yet deprecating stories to hold ourselves captive to the same content on endless pages of the ‘Good for now’ story we write each day of our lives. This limiting belief system of lesser than or equal to value we place on ourselves is truly no fault of our own. Of course, as adults we make our own decisions and the choice to write a positive or negative self-story is our own. However, our ability to see less and less of our own personal power is a by product of perhaps an experience in our childhood or teen years, maybe a negative relationship experience, a difficult job, the list goes on. It only takes a single experience to shift our perspective and ability to decide what to embrace.
Our story rarely changes, even as we approach our next page. And what’s even worse? We actually believe this story without truly questioning why we have this belief. We fail to take our story back to editing to make sure the underlying story of self-empowerment shines through to the surface.
Regardless of the how each of our stories are composed, we are given an opportunity to practice the art of letting go. It’s time to let go of what doesn’t serve us and change the story simply because we have the power to do so.
Further, why wouldn’t we, if letting go propels us forward instead of facilitating our stagnation in a tale that doesn’t serve us? It took a single experience to place us in a cascade of negative self-story, so a single event could be our beginning to the same story with a fresh voice. Think about it, a fresh voice leads to confidence, which leads to small success, generating larger success, creating a sense of balance…this list can go on too.
Make no mistake, there is no need to stop in our tracks and let go of everything all at once. While that is a bold and empowering action, it is important to take action in small steps with intention. Here, we can teach ourselves to embrace the ‘small hinges swing big doors’ philosophy shared with me by one of my mentors during my wellness studies.
As such, I invite you to think of what you can let go of in each progressing moment so that your story for that minute, hour or day becomes more uplifting and empowering. How can you let go to add a small hinge to your heavy door of change?
If you aren’t exactly certain of what you can or should be looking to energetically let go of, try thinking of aspects of your day that generate negative thoughts, feelings or energy. Here are a few examples to guide your thoughts:
· A Place
· A Person
· A Food/Drink
· An Activity
· A Task
· A Feeling
Once you have that or those items that just don’t serve you identified, ask yourself what about them gives you a less than pleasant feeling? Do you have your thoughts ready? Great! Now, it’s time to shift your thoughts. This is where the real work is because isn’t it easy to look at things and rattle off how bad or negative they are? The greater challenge exists when we ask our minds to re-frame the way we look at something. This is where our power, our strength and our desire to move forward happens.
Ready to rewrite your story?
Read on and then try this exercise.
Close your eyes and hold your hands closed with your palms facing down. Now, imagine any of those things that write a story that simply isn’t yours or brings negativity into your world. Recognize that feeling and then ask yourself how you can make that story one that brings you positive energy and empowers you. As your mind begins to change the picture allow your hands to turn so that the back of your hand is facing the ground and your palms face the sky.
Keep your hands closed and hold this newly refreshed energy in your hands. When you are ready open your hands and share your new story with soulful balance and strength.
There is no supplement to take or quick fix to help us compose the empowered and soulful narration of our lives. We are the navigators, the authors and the caretakers of the thoughtful practice of creating a life of balance that allows our story to reflect the best version of ourselves.
So, I ask once more, what is the story you are telling yourself?