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We Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves

I've heard it so many times and for a time I have been telling this myself too.

"I can't do that because I don't have the skills, I lack experience, I don't have the money, I'm too old, _________ (insert your go to excuse here)."

I wonder how many times you have shortchanged yourself because of the expectations and generalizations you choose to believe about your very self.

To be honest, I have done it a lot of times. Looking back, whenever reading someone's success, I thought to myself "oh she was able to pull it off because of this, this and that which I clearly don't have." I was so keen on reflecting my imperfections back to me so I can justify the expectation I chose to believe in... That I can't. And owned that choice I did, like my life depended on it.

So there I was, frustrated and stuck on wanting to create something, to make an impact but never even trying because I have told myself so many times that there is no way I can do this or be that.

But then I gave myself permission to rewrite the story I tell myself. I started seeing my lack of experience, lack of knowledge as an opportunity to learn.

I learned to dance with my fear. On a good day, I take two steps forward. On days when I want to give up, I steady my nerves and take the tiniest step I can muster to move forward. I keep repeating to myself "you can" like a mantra.

And these 2 simple words made me think about my grandmother. Born to a poor family, at a young age, she started selling their garden produce - tomatoes and lemons - walking miles and miles to add to her family's income. Having very little money, her parents couldn't send her to school. So she got a job as a help and in return asked that she be sent to school.

After graduating college, she went to work for the government, wanting to make a difference and help the marginalized. She then studied real estate to earn extra on the side and with hard work, she built herself up.

After retiring from her job, she put up a small store. I even remembered her putting up a poultry business, selling insurance, and just always doing things. She remained generous with people asking for help and her advice. And I would often hear her say "of course you can do this. Don't tell yourself you can't." The story she crafted and owned is one filled with possibilities. And I finally understood that limits become real only when you conceive of them.

The words and thoughts you limit yourself with are the ones you are choosing to believe, accept, and own. And you've allowed them to become your story.

But what if I tell you that you can choose another story? Will you give yourself the permission you have been denying yourself to rewrite it? I hope you do, because you can.



Image by Kristopher Roller


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