I believe that we are all infinite beings and that we are capable of amazing things in our lives. I also believe that the main reason many of us do not reach our potential in life is because of the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are, who we are capable of being, and what we are capable of doing.
It has been said that we create our own reality, so why is it that some of us choose to create lives of quiet desperation, while others of us choose the path of the winner or the hero? I think it all comes down to the kinds of stories that we tell ourselves.
In doing some reflection about my life and about my childhood, I came to the realization that despite their probably having other important lessons to teach me as I grew up, the two most prominent messages I got from my parents were: 1. Don’t embarrass us in public, and 2: Don’t ask for anything.
Growing up in a Christian family meant that we spent a great deal of our lives in church. Nothing seemed more important to my parents than all four of us behave properly in church. My dad could strike cold fear in the hearts of any of us who dared wiggle, squirm or make a sound during church service simply by giving us what came to be known as, “The Eye” He would stare at us with a laser-like glare and we knew that if we didn’t straighten up there would be trouble for our hind-parts later.
We were not poor, but somehow the answer was always no whenever I asked for something that I wanted. “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” I was told, along with another old favorite response, “Do you think I’m made of money?” After hearing, “No,” so often I learned to stop asking and eventually to stop even wanting so many things.
I learned to keep my expectations low so that I would not be disappointed when I didn’t get what I wanted.
With the admonition to not do anything that might embarrass my parents or myself in public, I developed the skill of being invisible. I figured if nobody noticed me, I’d be safer and there would be less of a risk of public embarrassment. I played small and safe. I was incredibly compliant and aspired to never ruffle anyone’s feathers. This became problematic for me because people began to see me as weak and tried to take advantage of me.
The whole, “Don’t ask for anything,” aspect of my story also served to keep me limited and small. Just like that famous quote from Marianne Williamson that says, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” I was always shrinking myself down so that others would feel comfortable around me. I didn’t ask for what I wanted because my experiences showed me that I never got what I asked for, so why bother?
But now I have learned that when I believe the stories that I have made up about how life is I can’t experience all of the richness of the infinite possibilities that are available to me. I have made choices in my life based on the stories that I was telling myself and the stories that were told to me by the adults in my life who had their own limiting beliefs. How liberating it is to discover that all I have to do is to let go of those stories. My friend and spiritual coach, Angela Gower-Johnson, uses a question from Access Consciousness that says, “What else is possible?” What else is possible when I can step out with confidence that I no longer need to feel limited by those stories?
Letting go of my story is a continuing process because almost every day I come up against a thought that has flowed out of one of those old, limiting beliefs. Like Byron Katie always asks, “Who would you be without your story?” She says that when you believe your thoughts you suffer, so you should question them.
When I question my thoughts endless new possibilities emerge. Everything is lighter and I am free.
What aspect of your story is keeping you in bondage to a life that no longer works for you? Start asking better questions. Let go of those stories that you have been dragging around with you and take a look at what else is possible. I think you’ll be amazed at what you will find.
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