Change the story you tell yourself, about yourself

Diana Brummer, Good Mental Health

Have you ever heard newlyweds tell the story about how they first met?

With knowing looks, and sparkling eyes, their excitement almost palpable, they share vivid details about the events that changed their lives forever. It’s the “Our eyes met across a crowded room and I just knew,” scenario that has been the basis for romantic books and movies across centuries.

What if you asked that same couple to tell their story after five years of marriage? Or ten? Or twenty? How might that story have changed? The once vividly detailed story often shrinks down to three words or less. The answer to, “How did you guys meet?” becomes, “In a bar,” or “At work,” or “Through a friend,” and the love story they had once built their relationship on vanishes just like that.

The story we once told about ourselves vanishes in much the same way.

We are our own historians, just as we are our own visionaries for our future. Who we were, who we are, and who we will be depends mostly on the unique blend of facts, experiences, and details we decide to focus on. But instead of focusing on our potential, we tend to focus on our limitations.

At the beginning of a lifetime, or a relationship, or a new job, we hold a blank slate, containing no mistakes. We set out to be the person we tell ourselves we *should* be, crafting the flawless masterpieces that will become our lives. But, because we are human, we inevitably fail to meet some (most?) of the expectations we have set for ourselves. As a result, we begin relentlessly beating ourselves up for not being who we think we should be, instead of realistically seeing who we are.

It’s the “should-ing” all over ourselves that really fouls us up. Should chips away at our self-esteem. It prevents us from achieving our goals. Mostly, it prevents us from realizing our soul’s purpose: to become the best version of ourselves we can be.

Here’s the secret that we all really need to hear, understand, and accept:

We can be proud of where we are while still striving to improve.

Contentment and striving are not mutually exclusive states of being.

They can exist together. They are meant to exist together.

Do we all have areas of our lives we wish to improve? Yes.
Can we still be proud of ourselves and all that we are while simultaneously working on those improvements? Also YES.

Let’s start by changing the story we tell ourselves, about ourselves.

Let go of the narrative of not being who you think you should be. Release the shame that goes along with that.

Accept yourself where you are, who you are, in this very moment.

Because it’s in this moment of acceptance that growth and change can occur.


Diana Baker Brummer, Good Mental Health

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