Oh, the unhelpful stories we tell ourselves.
Some of them are just plain lies.
Many of them compound the stress in our lives.
Some leave us feeling exhausted.
Some keep us stuck in fear and separated by miles from from the lives we dream of and want.
So, if you’re looking for a way to bring more joy and energy into your life – at work , at home, or both – one important step might be to take a look at the stories you’re telling. Stories about things like:
- what you have to do (and maybe who you have to do it for)
- what you can do
- what you can’t do
- what you do have time for
- what you don’t have time for
Crazy Rules We Make Up
Lots of the daily weight we carry around with us, comes from trying to keep up to the stories, rules and expectations we set for ourselves. What are some examples of these unhelpful rules we create for ourselves?
- I must respond to every text, email, facebook post, or tweet that I’m tagged in.
- I have to “look presentable” before I can go out of the house.
- I have to have a clean house before I can have friends over.
- I have to get my act together before I can invite a coach or colleague in to offer feedback on my practice.
- Until my kids are grown (my mortgage is paid off . . . my life is less messy . . . ) my real dreams have to be on hold.
- I have to map out the entire journey before I begin.
Your Own List of Unhelpful Stories and Rules
You get the idea, right? With a little thought, you’ll likely find it easy to create a list of rules you’ve made for yourself that are dragging you down, leaving you exhausted and/or keeping you from living the life you wish you could live.
Go ahead. Grab a sheet of paper a jot a few down.
Now consider this.
The truth is, we all have a whole lot more freedom, choice, and time than we realize. . .
If only we’re willing to break free of the old and unhelpful stories (disguised as fear-based rules) that get in the way. And the key to breaking free of the unhelpful stories is to simply start to write some new stories and some new rules for ourselves and the lives we want to live.
Flip the List
Ready to bravely shed a few of these unhelpful rules you’ve created for yourself? Ready to replace them with some new more helpful ones? Using the list you wrote, try these three steps.
- Flip each statement around, transforming it from an unhelpful (shaming, limiting, fear-based, pressure-producing) rule into new more empowering story about how you want your life to be.
- Write a few “I can . . .” statements, to paint a clear picture of how you want to act and feel differently as you break this old rule and write a new one.
- Keep your new rule(s) in a place where you can read and reread them at least two times a day, until you really start to believe and live them. You’ll know when you no longer need the script to keep the new story alive.
I offer a few simple examples below.
- I choose a life beyond my phone. I don’t have to respond to every event, fancy burger, drama or micro moment that a friend shares or tags me in. I can change my habits, using social media in thoughtful and intentional ways to restore me and lift me up, rather than drain and drag me down.
- My messy house is an outcome of a rich and interesting life. I’m in charge of deciding how much stress I choose to assign to the state of my own dwelling. Without guilt, I can choose focus on people and projects I care about even if my house isn’t in apple pie order.
- Feedback is fuel for the next stage of my journey. I can invite mentors and coaches into my life right now. I can be vulnerable with a mentor, letting go of shame or worry about what weaknesses I might expose. I can develop a true eagerness for honest feedback.
- My dreams and desires matter. They don’t need to be on hold. Now is the right time for whatever it is I want to pursue. I can make a plan to begin with a few simple steps right now. Waiting for the right time is simply fear convincing me not to act. There is no right time. There’s only now.
- Loving myself enough to prioritize self-care is a way to give back to everyone around me. I can put self-care at the top of my priority list for the week. I can make simple self-care a part of me daily routine. Everyone around me will benefit from me being more emotionally, physically, and spiritually well.
- I don’t need a master plan or an open calendar to pursue my interests and passions. Every journey begins with a single step. I can start with a single small step. I can start with a small slice of time each day. Small but consistent actions add up.
The Power of Adopting New Stories
What if we all started to show up every day (and in every space we inhabit) in new and courageous ways that let others really see our authentic selves?
What if we all believed in and loved ourselves enough to name our most audacious dreams and commit to fiercely pursue them?
What if we just took the first step, no matter how small and no matter how scary . . . even if we aren’t sure what the second and third steps are?
How we spend our moments is how we spend our days. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
How will you spend the next moments of your life?
Living by the old rules?
Or loving yourself enough to start to create some new ones?
And speaking of new rules and ways of showing up . . .
What if you bravely committed right now to next year being your best year yet . . . letting your authentic self shine through all year long?
What if 2019-20 was the year you could see Every Reader Engaged, Empowered and Thriving? Better yet, what if you were able to thrive right alongside them?