Last week I mentioned a meditation workshop I attended in D.C. during my vacation. I took a lot of notes (and tried to meditate), but one of the great questions of the day was, what story have you been told about yourself?
I have long thought of myself as an athlete. I developed that perception based on natural interests, but also on what’s been reflected back to me. Sure some of that story came from me, but 90% of that belief came from what people told me about myself.
I have plenty of stories about myself, and not all of them are flattering. I'm scattered. I'm absent-minded. I'm not good enough. Yeah, that's a big one.
If you made a list of one line stories about yourself right now, what might that look like? How much of your current life has been determined not by what you say is possible, but in what you believe to be true about yourself?
How many of those stories have come from you and how many have come from things people have said about you? I have a friend who was constantly berated by her dad for all of the things she did wrong.
"You screw everything up," he'd say. "Can't you do anything right?"
Her story about herself very quickly became, "I screw everything up. I can't do anything right."
We learn to absorb these stories as truth, and these beliefs can be devastating.
But we can learn to change the story.
This falls into the category of simple in strategy but oh so difficult in practice. Easier said than done. But honestly, the difference between you and the people doing the thing you’ve always wanted to do is the story you tell yourself.
How different would it feel to change the statement "I could never bench press 100 pounds" to "If I trained for awhile I'm sure I could lift 100 pounds."
But you have to do more than say it. You have to believe it. And that's where the practice comes in.
Choose a story that you want to change. Write it on the mirror. Say it to yourself. Say it to a friend. Say it to a coach.
You can change your life by changing the story you’re telling yourself.