The Stories We Tell Our Self

The Stories We Tell Our Self

Each of us has a personal mythology…stories we tell our self. Generally, these stories are background noise or perhaps even whispers that remind us how we have screwed up, the mistakes we made, and especially that one area in our lives where we continue to beat ourselves up, judge ourselves and generally repeat the same old lie over and over and over in this grisly rendition of the tales of our life.

Sometimes it takes careful listening to hear the hot breath of hate breathing down our back. Those foundational myths are rooted deeply into our psyche and into every decision we make.

A few weeks ago I read a book of fiction that was one of those reads that shook my world because I saw how my personal litany of stories had created a very negative self-image, had held me back in relationships, in work…in creativity. At the end of the book I sat in stillness as the stories I have told myself for decades crumbled. What if what I thought were my greatest faults are actually my greatest strengths?

For example, I live alone, I don’t date and haven’t been in a relationship for over eight years…by choice because I have judged myself to be incapable of being in a relationship, even though I tried and committed to them. When the last one failed I shook myself silly with harsh judgments and wrote the final chapter in the saga of how I am a lousy partner. But what if I really had amazing courage and strength to keep trying, to risk everything for love? What if my willingness to try shows incredible hope? That’s an entirely different story.

As I sat there at the end of the book, I had an incredible urge to apologize to myself, tearfully and deeply expressing sorrow for causing such pain and damage by the negative stories I have repeatedly told myself about myself. 

When I did that it was like stepping into a new reality. All of those old stories have no place in my life anymore. In fact, there is no need for any story now. Life is an ongoing creative process that needs no tale or mythology to keep it contained in a form. What would it feel like to live with limitless possibilities?

As this year of struggle for so many of us winds down today I offer this gift: Listen for the stories you tell yourself. They may have originated in what others said about you and you took to heart or they may come from your own negative self-image. Take the time to listen and if there is anything whispering words of hate to you, it’s time to let that tale go. If there is anything that is damaging or unloving that repeats in your mind, you can release that story and feel the freedom that comes from living outside a personal myth. 

It’s time to break free from the stories we tell ourselves.  

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: