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The Stories We Tell Ourselves about Ourselves

 

What is the story you tell yourself about yourself? 

Has your story created barriers and limitations?  If it has, is your story about yourself the truth?

When our stories about ourselves limit who we really are, it can cause us to feel tired at best — or even hopeless.  And these limiting stories hold us back.  When we choose to believe our limiting stories, we are quitting on ourselves and our potential.

But there is another way to use our story – to empower ourselves.  Even if our story makes us feel badly about ourselves, there is power in recognizing and accepting that it has driven us for too long.  Once we recognize and accept our story, we can then rewrite it to empower us. 

 

Only after recognizing and accepting it can we rewrite our story.  

 

When you let go of your old story, you have created space to make a new, empowering story.  

You now have the possibility to make a new story that nourishes and serves yourself and others.   It is your choice to let go or hold on to a story — think of it as just a “flip of a coin.”   

 

“Step out of the history that is holding you back.  Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

 

Cynthia shares about rewriting her story:

 

“Good Better Best, never let it rest/‘Til the good is better/And the better’s best.”

(attributed to St. Gerome, Albert Einstein, and others)

 

This little ditty was one of the mantras with which I grew up.  I don’t remember how old I was the first time my Mother recited it to me, but I was pretty young.  And I definitely took it to heart.

Too much so.

Always striving for the best grade in grammar school, valedictorian of my high school, I was an overachiever from the get-go.  Not only in studies, but in athletics too.  I internalized the meaning of “my best” to include expecting myself to excel at anything I tried.   And I did perform quite well in many things in school.  However, I didn’t realize the deep fear of failure I developed from my unspoken expectation to excel.  It wasn’t that I wanted to show off or brag.  (This was strongly discouraged in my family.)  But I developed a deep need to produce “my best” and I didn’t think “my best” was anything other than straight A’s on my report card or being the fastest runner on the high school track.  

Perfectionism had taken over and I realized deep unhappiness and depression if I fell short of “my best” anywhere.  My emotional triggers to this day stem from this learned behavior – work hard, fall short of my expectation of “my best” and then play the martyr.  Oh, not pretty.

Thank goodness for being exposed to a different way of living  – “Perfection vs. Excellence” written by some wise soul:

 

Perfection is fear.

Excellence is taking a risk.

 

Perfection is judgment.

Excellence is accepting.

 

Perfection is taking.

Excellence is giving.

 

Perfection is doubt.

Excellence is confidence.

 

Perfection is pressure.

Excellence is natural.

 

Perfection is the destination.

Excellence is the journey.

(Author unknown)

 

Excellence has been my mantra for the last 25 years.  I like it better than “Good, Better, Best.”  Now “my best” varies across the board when measured in actual achievement.  And from time to time, Perfectionism shows up. 

When it does I tell her to take a hike, which is usually successful. 

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