Brené Brown talks about how we allow our “stories” to define us, or rather the stories that other’s project on us, those we buy into, those that we create, those we believe as our “truth”. Some of us, not ready to step out of these stories, stand by them, guarding them with what we think is dignity and honor.
But what we are really doing is guarding ourselves from outside hurt and uncertainty, which therefore forces the inner self to stay hushed. We are afraid to step out of what we’ve understood to be our “story” and truly define for ourselves what our true story is.
The biggest problem is that what we’ve allowed in the past to define us has such a strong grip on our bodies, that when we break free, we forget how to breathe on our own; we forget how to walk on our own two feet; we have to learn a whole new “story” that is so foreign that we feel like we need to learn the basics of life all over again.
And that’s where I am right now.
My story used to be this:
I’m only good enough to be a classroom teacher. I’m not good enough to get married. I’ll never have children of my own – only those who have graced my classroom. I’ll never write and publish a book because my written word isn’t good enough to be read. My metabolism sucks so therefore I will never be thin. I’m confused by religion, having grown up with two religious influences. I will only ever have enough money to get by. I fear my depression and anxiety. I’m not smart enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not… I’m not… I’m not…
I was a prisoner of my own insecurities, and my story was insatiable.
I truly believed this story, and so I stuck by it, because it seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn’t break free from any of them. Those around me believed this story to be true as well because they either helped me reinforce these qualifiers, or I reinforced them for all to see.
This is me. This is who I am – a single, not-so-thin, childless teacher who is stuck in a career that pays just enough to get by, with no hope to move forward because she is too damn’ afraid to do what she really wants to do.
I told so many versions of that story so many times that I no longer owned any part of it – it owned me. I was its slave and any time I tried to step out of the story to create a new one, it sucked me back in and showed me my place. I was the main character, yet I felt that since the ending was clearly written, I had no say in the way the rest of the story went. This is how it was. This is the life I was destined to live.
That was my story and my life before I loved myself. So really, that old story was just a story of settling for what others thought of me and settling for what I thought of me.
But when you love yourself, what others think no longer matters as much, and eventually it matters none at all. What matters is that you see your story as something much different from what you used to tell yourself and others. Your new story becomes a story of faith, hope, love, and trust.
It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, many of you know that it has taken me three long and arduous years to get here, but I realized last night, as I listened to Brené speak here in Denver, that my story has significantly changed, and I am none of those horrific qualifiers I thought I was. In fact, I am the best version of me I’ve ever known, but it is because I finally realized that I can create my story, rather than be told what my story is or should be.
Today, as I write this to you and for me, I admit that I’m fully taking ownership of all qualifiers that take part in my story, which means that I can do with it what I please! My story will change, and these qualifiers will change, because I love myself enough to make adjustments to the things that no longer serve my best story and my best version of me. I can edit and revise any pieces that come from someone else’s version of me, and keep the parts that are truly from my soul and my experience, because when I get down to it, it is my story, not theirs.
Without further adieu, I present to you my new, super improved, story:
I am happy. I live everyday as though I am being tested so that I strive for a better understanding of myself. I am, and always will be, a teacher. I am loved. I am supported. I am playful. I am deserving of a loving and wonderful relationship, and I know it is on its way to me now. I follow my heart and my passion, and am abundant. I can create as much wealth as I truly want, desire and deserve for any and all purposes in life. I have the best of friends who are family. My spiritual self, above all else, is a priority, and I stay true to my beliefs. I am love.