Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What You’re Saying About Yourself: Does Your Story Empower You?

Retelling a self-defeating story. – If we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not. So the question is: Does your story empower you? Don’t place your mistakes on your mind, their weight may crush your current potential. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view the horizon. Remember, all things are difficult before they are easy. What matters the most is what you start doing now.” (source)

I’ve realized that I don’t always tell the best stories about myself. In fact, I have a habit of retelling one self-defeating story in particular.

I’m a single parent. And as such, I struggle with a great deal of guilt for not bringing my son into a two-parent home, the way I always thought my children would be raised—the way I was raised. I tell myself that I should feel guilt for struggling financially and not providing enough of the “extras” I thought he “should” have {I was in my senior year of college when he was born}. I tell myself that not being fully self-actualized or self-aware in my 20s is a reason to feel ashamed {and really, how many of us know it all at that point in our lives? Or even in our 30s?!}. I often feel guilt for not having been able to be at home with him when he was younger, not having been able to leave my full time job to volunteer at his school, for feeding him fast food on nights when I was too tired to cook. In a nutshell, I’ve drafted this entire story about all the things I wish I had done differently where I paint myself in such a negative light that it's still surprising even to me sometimes.

The problem with this line of thinking is that none of what has already happened can be changed. I’ve grown and learned so much from those difficult lessons. And I need to tell myself a story that is empowering as opposed to one that is defeating and leaves me guilt-ridden and sad.

The result of all the dedication I poured into parenting--despite how I arrived at being a parent--and all the love I poured into my young man is this: he is a happy, well-adjusted, responsible, academically excellent athlete with major plans for the future. My job isn’t done yet, but all that I have been able to do with the time and resources I had then, and have now, are paying off. I am actually a pretty great mother. And that’s what I need to tell myself again and again.

In what area of your life might you be telling a self-defeating story? In what ways are you beating yourself up for past decisions, instead of treating yourself with love and recognizing that even through those mistakes, you’ve learned valuable lessons?

*image source


GG said...

I know sooo many people who need to read this or at least understand this concept!!!!! For example, my S.O. He has this "black sheep/bad guy" story that he tells himself. He can get easily defensive and his go-to response is often "So, I'm the bad guy, right?" LOL. I tell him that he does that and he needs to stop pigeon holing himself that way.

We all do it in some way or another. I have a few of my own that i'm working on.

Oh and by the way, you are an awesomely admirable fabulous mom. You've set such a good example for me always. xoxo

Kim Jackson said...

* tear *. Thank you!

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