- Merrily Hope
The lies we tell...
We tell stories all the time. Every single day. To ourselves. Many of these are lies.
I am not good enough for...
People will think I am too ___ if I ___...
I'm not smart enough for...
Many of these are stories that we created unknowingly from things that we have gone through in our past, even as far back as our childhood.
What if you could stop staying small and invisible? What if you could rise up into your power and recognize the phenomenal person that you are?
The exercise to challenge these limiting beliefs is both simple and complex. It can be done on your own if you are willing to be honest with yourself and sit in the discomfort. If you have the chance to work with a trained coach, he/she can help you dig a little deeper and become more skilled at finding these stories in the first place.
The first step is to start paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. Just take a few days to observe your thoughts. This sounds strange, I am aware! If it helps, try to observe your day from above, as if you were an ethereal being, watching. Notice themes that emerge in your stories.
When you are ready, chose an important story. This may be the one that pops up the most, or the one that is the easiest to change, or even the one that is causing you the most damage.
What is the challenge it is causing?
Write it down.
"My relationship is struggling."
What is the story you are telling yourself?
Write it down.
"I am not enough for this person."
Don't judge the story. It is a part of you, so it deserves compassion. Don't spend time right now trying to identify where the story is coming from. That isn't important right now.
Here is the hard part. Say it out loud and feel it. Where are you feeling it in your body? If it bubbles up emotions, sit with them. FEEL what that story is doing to your physical body. Stay with this as long as is comfortable for you.
Now list what this story is costing you.
Now list what the payoff is for believing this story. What are you gaining? Perhaps you are protecting your heart from getting hurt, or you telling yourself you are not enough for that promotion because then you don't have to put yourself out there. There must be advantages to that story or you wouldn't still be holding on to it.
Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself if this story is worth holding on to. I'm guessing that if it causing you discomfort, it is not.
Brainstorm stories that are equally believable that you could replace your old story with. (This is an area where it is very beneficial to have someone walk with you.) Again, believable is the important word. If you decide your new story is "I am the most amazing person ____ has ever known," and you don't believe that story to be true, it won't stick.
List three or four replacement stories, and then try each of them on. Say each one out loud and see which resonates with you the most.
Now, create an action plan, or a visible reminder that is going to help you make the shift to your new story when the old one starts to creep in.
This is a difficult and vulnerable exercise. Treat yourself with love and compassion.
Step fully into who you really are, and leave the make-believe you gently behind.