We all have a narrative we've developed over time about ourselves. Over time we chisel out a picture of who we believe ourselves to be by assimilating all this information from our environment (experiences, what authority figures tell us about us, how people react to us and how we relate to others). We take that story and continue to tell that to ourselves and other people, which reinforces who we are. Unfortunately, when we're learning and growing, sometimes this narrative is impacted by negative and FALSE beliefs:
The person who is always being asked to take care of things for other people, but is never asked "are you okay?"; this can translate to a narrative that your needs aren't important and that if you can't be of service to someone else there isn't any value to, well, just being YOU.
Or the girl who has had some unhealthy relationships, maybe been cheated on or abused in some way, that begins to believe she is just the type of person that deserves this type of treatment. Her narrative may become that she isn't worthy of being truly loved and cared for because she hasn't actually had that experience before in her life.
The guy who has been told repeatedly that you are only as good as what you can provide materially; this can translate to a narrative that if you aren't yet in a place in your life where you feel you can provide to a certain expectation, you are not inherently worthy of love and acceptance.
These are just a few examples, but all of them are dangerous, and sometimes so automatic that we don't even realize we're doing it. Oh, and absolutely false. And really, if we shape our present thoughts about ourselves based on our past or things that have happened TO us, how does that give us any power over what narrative we want for ourselves for the future? Everytime we fall into that old storyline that maybe we inherited from family members, past relationships, or previous "mistakes", we give away our power to define who we want to be and give up on ourselves before we even try.
Habits are hard to break, and working on yourself is a terrifying thing to do because you have to face whatever baggage has been put away neatly in that spare room in your brain that you try so hard not to open. But the reality is, that baggage can really cause us to self sabatoge (without us even realizing it!) if we don't open that room and do some spring cleaning. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are POWERFUL, either in a detrimental way or an uplifting way.
Begin questioning your narrative rather than believing it up front; are you REALLY this person that "can't do a certain thing" or "is a bad daughter/son/partner/etc." or "can't trust anyone"? Is that who you want to be, or is that just what other people/past experiences have told you about you?
Narratives can come in disguises. They can come in the form of pushing people away because we are "strong and don't have time for XYZ", or because we "just don't care anymore". Sometimes that has more to do with fear because of a personal narrative developed from a history of hurt, rather than the lack of care or numbness that is used as a defense.
As always, I write these posts because they are something I'm working on in my life right now. I have always had this narrative that I "don't do relationships well". Past experiences, divorced parents, bla bla bla baggage (lol), and without even noticing I would self sabotage or detach myself before I really began to rely on another person being in my life. Because I truly believed this limiting story about myself. My brain would create all these signals that it wasn't safe to be vulnerable with partners because "I knew how it would end up". FALSE. The beauty of experiences and being self aware is that you can notice your own patterns, and I am now in a place where I have the ability to actively work on them instead of just accepting every nonsense thing my brain tells me. I am choosing to release that limiting belief, and trust that with self love and trust I can create my narrative in a way that feels good to me, not in a way that limits who I really am and what I really deserve.
So start the conversation with yourself (maybe through journaling), with a trusted person in your life, or even a therapist. History doesn't dictate your future; it impacts you, yes, but it doesn't define you. What you do now, what you say about yourself, what you believe about yourself will shape you and your future. Pick 1 limiting belief that continues to show up in your life and I want you to question where it came from? Every time it shows up, affirm the opposite of that to yourself. It changes the approach towards life and towards ourselves from one of reactionary fear to one of self love and trust. Grabbing the reigns and defining YOUR story for yourself is the ultimate act of self love.
Light and love,