The Stories We Tell Ourselves

A theme emerged as I was waking up this morning.  I felt like I was dreaming, but I was fully conscious of what I was seeing and was able to actively think about what I was seeing.  My mind flashed to images of times in my life where the words or actions of others made me feel badly about myself.  I saw images of childhood, of middle school girls etc.

I feel the need to say here that probably some of what I experienced in middle school from mean 7th grade girls was karma for times in elementary school when I joined in and was mean to kids too.  I’ve always felt badly about that.  I went along with the majority in an unconscious attempt to feel better about myself at the expense of someone else’s heart. If anyone I negatively affected happens to read this, I want you to know that I am truly sorry.  I had girls in middle school who made me feel so badly that I didn’t even want to keep going to school, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  In writing this, I realize that I was hurting and trying to fit in when I said those mean words AND I realize that the mean girls in middle school were also hurting and trying to fit in. They were doing their best to hide their own insecurities and make themselves feel better by joining in with a crowd that decided they hated me for something they thought that I had said.

Today, times flashed in my mind’s eye of when I was made to feel like what I was saying or doing was wrong.  And I realized as I was seeing the images, that those times were partly responsible for my feelings of low self-worth.  Rather than acknowledging that what I was hearing was only someone’s opinion and not fact, and therefore not worth worrying about, I internalized the message that I was not good enough.

I’ve come to realize that it’s not so much the events in our lives that matter, but the stories that we tell ourselves about those events.  And then in true Universe fashion, this timely quote from Lee Harris popped up on my Facebook feed this morning:

“Who you think you are today is only made up of stories you have experienced throughout your life and how you have interpreted them.  That is who you have become. This is what we all do as human beings.  We experience life through our own filters of perspective and our reactions to what we see and feel in the world around us.  So becoming awake in our perspectives and reactions is the first step to freedom and potential growth and change for us.  Becoming awake to what lies underneath your own self-worth issues is a great key that will let you create change.”  — from Activate Your Self Worth by Lee Harris; quote as posted on Facebook on 8/11/17 (

A lot of the images of moments that flashed in my head were from my childhood, from middle school, things I had forgotten about.  Other ones from my adult life came to mind as thoughts, but without images, likely because their impact is still fresh enough for me to remember without pictures.  As I write and contemplate these instances that so greatly changed the way I felt about myself, a sense of shame comes up for me.  My inner critic feels silly for allowing outside influences to affect my view of myself so negatively. But when I do this, I realize that I am allowing the negative event to hurt me twice — once by giving it power in the first place and once for feeling bad/guilty/shameful that I gave it that power.  And really that does nothing but make me feel doubly bad.

So I have to remind myself that a lot of the scars I carry, I picked up when I was a kid with a much different capacity for thought than I have now.  I certainly didn’t have my current level of mindfulness and confidence that gives me the ability to see that what other people say or do really has nothing to do with me, and instead has everything to do with them and what they have going on in their own lives.  As for the times in my adult life when I allowed others to squash me, I also realize that I was still unconscious to how I was allowing others to impact my sense of self.  I see that the things that people said to me only held merit, because I also believed them.  The way that people treated me was really a mirror for how I was treating myself.

The difficulty lies in the fact that a lot of us developed wounds when we were children and they made us hurt so much that we buried them deep, so that we could forget about them and move on.  Essentially, we buried them in an attempt to protect ourselves from them.  Out of sight, out of mind.  The challenge that we face as adults is to shed light on all of the things that we have kept hidden from ourselves that continue to have a negative impact on our lives. Because what we are unable to see remains.  WHAT WE ARE UNABLE TO SEE REMAINS.  It’s only when I can fully see my beliefs and patterns that I gain the ability to change them.  Otherwise, they just continue to unconsciously affect my life.  It is only when I can unravel my old wounds with compassion that I can commiserate with the child in me who buried them, and release their hold over me.

I can see that some parts of my story about myself are based on other people’s reactions to me — many of which occurred when I was too young to know any better.  And so now, part of my work surrounding this is to release the parts of my story that are no longer serving me and my greatest good.  Part of my work is forgiving myself for allowing the opinions of others to strongly affect my self-image in the past.  I also work to remain conscious of how I allow others to affect me and my peace of mind in the present.

The way we treat ourselves and other people really does send out a ripple effect through the Universe.  When I think of how people have impacted my life, I become acutely aware of how I have the ability to impact others.  We cannot expect anyone to treat us better than we treat ourselves.  Just as we cannot expect others to love us more than we love ourselves.  I truly believe that we get from the Universe what we send out.

I am still working to respond rather than react to situations, though I sometimes find myself getting triggered in the present by old triggers developed in the past.  In these times, I know that I need to show myself more patience and love, which can be easier said than done for this recovering self-critic and perfectionist.  So I move forward with everything that I have learned and continue to learn, being as mindful as I can, with the hope that my overall impact on the world will be a positive one.

I am working to uncover and rewrite the story I hold about myself.  When we view situations as “bad”, then they tend to impact our lives negatively.  But when we view situations as “good”, they tend to impact our lives positively.  If we believe that the world is a hostile sphere of negativity and doom, then what we see around us is a battle ground of negativity and doom.  When we believe that the world is a loving, beautiful place, that supports our soul’s growth, we look around and see beauty in everything.  Our minds really are powerful.  The story that we hold about ourselves and the world creates either a life of limits or limitlessness.  It’s our choice.  I’m currently working to choose limitlessness.

How can you open yourself to the limitlessness that the Universe holds for you?  Are there parts of your story that you need to shine a flashlight on today to make way for a better life for you tomorrow?  What can you do to treat yourself better today?

Matisyahu “Live Like a Warrior” Live

7 thoughts on “The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s