So what story am I telling myself, and is it even true? Something happened today that made me take a look at the stories we tell and where they come from. How we build lives around them, make decisions around them, and was the story ever really true?
Someone I know (my son) has been living this story that today proved to not even be true. He bought a car 1 1/2 years ago. In order to register it in his name he had to have it smogged. This car had modifications to the engines (guys car) so he said it would not pass smog. He could not finish the registration and transfer because of this. Time goes by, he gets an extension. More time goes by, he gets a tickets as his tags are expired. He cannot get the tags, because its not in his name. He gets another extension. We have multiple conversations around this. He tells me there is an engine light causing the problem. To fix it would mean much work and many dollars. More time goes by, he gets another tickets. Next move is impound.
There is much stress, anxiety, many conversations around this. My sister tries to help, my brother in law gives advice. Finally I say I need to tell my mechanic exactly why it won’t smog. Tell me what the smog people said. My sons says “well I never tried to have it smogged.” What????? Deep breath…… Okay son, take it to the smog people, get an exact reason it will not smog and we can go from there. Today he takes the car in. It passes smog. There is no problem. The story was not true. He built a whole piece of his life around a story that was not true.
Our stories are important. We define ourselves, we connect with others, we make decisions, all around the story we have decided is our truth. But we have a responsibility to ourselves to question these stories. We cannot live blindly or stuck in an old story. That does not do us or those around us justice. Every now and then we need to check in and say is this still true? How did we start believing this, was it ever true? Looking at that will help us move forward and grow. Maybe the story is still true, okay then we know are on the right path. We have to be wiling to look at ourselves and what we believe about ourselves every now and then. Otherwise we are living by default.
One story I tell myself is that I am not the kind of woman a man wants to marry. Where I decided this I don’t know. I think it was to protect myself from being rejected. This thought helped me get through failed relationships, giving me an out (not my fault), after all I am not the kind of woman that men marry. It couldn’t have been that I picked men who were emotionally unavailable, or younger and wanting to make a family. It couldn’t have been that I did not want to be married. Shouldn’t every woman want that? Isn’t that the dream? How could I not want that?
Here is the thing, that thought helped me get through some really fragile years. Years I should not have been thinking of marriage or any long term relationship. So that belief served me well. It protected me, it gave me time, time to grow. I came out of a 20 year marriage and I had some healing to do. So that story that I told, well it helped me then.
But now, maybe I need to look at that again. Because I still say it, and I am not so sure it is true anymore. I think differently now. I have grown in many ways and now my life has changed and so have I . But if I keep thinking that and saying that, I will be stuck in an old pattern. A pattern that doesn’t fit anymore. Yes, I am independent and tend to need alone time, but I am sure there is someone out there that I am perfect for. I am changing my story.
Our stories can be good, they can be empowering. One of my mom’s stories was that she was lucky. And she was! She was always winning contests and jackpots. She went through her life saying “i’m lucky” and it served her well. So how about some good stories. How about I say I am smart, funny, capable? How about I believe that I am amazing? I could say I am lucky in love, in finances. Just plain lucky. I could tell the story of how I survived a divorce and came out on the other side with my sanity. I could believe that I am available to be a wonderful partner. My story could be I am a great mom. My story could be I leave a blessed mark wherever I go. My story can be whatever I want.
But I need to look at it. What am I telling myself, what I do believe to be true? And is it? No more hiding, no more fairy tales. The princess is a queen now and stories are in the open. Whether pretty, ugly, sad or uplifting, I own them. I invite you to look at your stories. What are you telling yourself, and is it true? We all have many stories through our lives. We can change them, we can write another chapter. It is all in our hands. But mainly be sure the story still fits. Don’t try to live in outgrown skin. Make a new story, and fill it with love.