I don’t remember when or how (probably read it in a book), but at some point, I was exposed to the idea that we as human beings tell a lot of stories. Not exactly in the sense of “once upon a time,” but stories about what we believe to be true and possible. We tell these stories about the world at large, about other people, and perhaps most importantly, about ourselves. We tell them to other people, and we tell them to ourselves. And the more we tell them, the more we believe them. For example, we might tell ourselves or others “I’m bad at math.”
I realized recently that I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut. As I was examining why this is and what I can do about it, this idea of stories resurfaced. I think that maybe I have been limiting myself based on things I believe about myself that may not be true. I asked myself, “Do I make things harder than they have to be because I doubt the possibilities that are being indicated to me all the time? Because of the stories I’ve told myself about what is true? Because of what I believe to be possible? Do I think I know better than life/God/the universe? Am I limiting the gifts life wants to give me? Maybe I don’t need X after all. Maybe I do have the energy for Y. Where is it written that I need or dislike this or that thing? Maybe that was true at 17 or 23, but is it still true now? When was the last time I actually tested this belief, or any of the beliefs I hold about myself?”
When I look back on my life so far, I can see that I have been different ways at different times. I’ve been outgoing, and I’ve been reserved. I’ve been popular, and I’ve kept to the shadows. I’ve been lazy, and I’ve been motivated. I’ve been uptight, and I’ve been laid back. I’ve been spontaneous, and I’ve been predictable.
Who are we to decide the limits of what we are capable of? Are we so arrogant as to assume we know everything about ourselves? Can we, indeed, know everything about anything?
The next time you tell yourself a story about yourself, pause for a moment and question it. Even if it’s just “I don’t like pie.” Are you sure? When was the last time you tried it? Where did you get it? What kind of mood were you in that day (like you can even remember). The point is, things change. We change. And that’s a good thing. Take advantage of it. Don’t let yourself remain stuck as your former self. Or you might miss out on something life-altering (even more so than pie!).
Found this apt quote on a friend’s Facebook page: “You are under no obligation to be the same person you were a year, a month, or even 15 minutes ago. You have the right to grow. No apologies.”
Strength and Love