07 May Burn the bridge to your story
If you have this kind of friend, you’re going to understand exactly what I mean.
You’re on FaceTime talking about the same thing that holds you back and she says “your story is your cop out.”
So what’s “your story”?
It’s the bullshit story you keep telling yourself of why you can’t succeed. You might find the deeper meanings in my story sound like yours.
Before my family fell apart when I was 12, we lived in a nice neighbourhood, a nice house, and on the outside everything looked picture perfect. Except inside was the opposite. It was a less than ideal situation to raise kids, ugly with a soupçon of nice.
There was no way I was letting anyone see the real us. I became an expert at playing alone at home, but when I did have friends I would be the one eating the proverbial broken cookie in everything we did. Desperately needing them, or anyone, to like me.
Do I fit in now? Not yet. Keep eating the cookie.
I nurtured this story for years. Decades.
Where it comes from was easy to figure out. I was the product of a love affair, not fully accepted by either side of the broken families.
Then it hit me. I am trying to fit in with the people who will always give me the broken cookie.
I perpetuated the not-fitting-in. I attracted these people into my life who will keep giving me the broken cookie then I choose to eat it.
That is a super abridged version but you get the point. Not belonging plus people telling you that you don’t belong equals not belonging so you attract more people who tell you that you don’t belong… you see where I’m going with this.
These stories color every aspect of our lives. It explains why I wasn’t one of the popular girls at school and that sentence would usually finish with “… but I wouldn’t want to fit in with them anyway.” That was a lie. I did want to fit in, more than anything. I just didn’t want not-fitting-in to be my fault.
We tell ourselves these stories over and over again and we wonder why we keep feeling the way we do despite the chocolate we treat ourselves to, or the add-to-cart habit we’ve gotten into, or the “I just need to learn this one last thing, then I can take the next step in my business.” Deep in our subconscious mind we replay the story.
It’s like that old pair of slippers we can’t seem to throw out. They’re comfortable and somewhere along the way we’ve told ourselves that change, is not.
Yesterday, this same friend asked me “where along the way have you learned that if you’re successful you’ll lose friends?” … she’s a great friend but sometimes I just want to punch her square in the face. She’s got that keeping-it-real quality that I love and hate. We speak truth with each other and she’s a gift to my life. I hope you find a life-enriching friend like that, who’s real with you especially when it hurts.
Her question reminded me of years ago when I found a support group that helped me deal with my childhood, and help change the behaviours that brought out the asshole in me. When the hour was up everyone would get up, hug, and chat.
One night after a meeting a woman came up to hug me and told me how much she loved what I shared. Being so touched by what she said, I confessed how good I had been feeling and how much these meetings were changing my life. Big mistake, huge! (remember that scene with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman? Ya, that.) She ended the conversation so quickly and walked away. My face flushed with shame and embarrassment. As I was leaving I saw her in a huddle with other people talking it up.
What do you think I learned?
Share the good and don’t belong.
Here’s the thing though, because hindsight is 2020. That was not the typical response of anyone in those meetings, quite the opposite actually, but it was the response that fed my story.
Read that again.
You seek what feeds your story.
So how do you think I reacted at the end of every meeting? Think I was like “Oh yeah! This is awesome and I’ve never been happier! This support group is actually working for me! YEAH!”
No. I stayed in mediocrity, and victimhood. I shared what would keep me fitting in.
Shine and you will lose love, you will never build friendships, and you will never belong.
So what’s your story? Where in your life do you keep getting the same results despite how much you think you’re changing?
Where are you choosing not to shine? But Eileen, I’m not choosing not to shine. Yes you are, Love. If your light isn’t blinding, that’s a choice.
Lately I’ve been dreaming of making big changes. Changes that I have been wanting to make but subconsciously didn’t because I would risk losing. Hitting that stay-small button e’ryday.
So seriously, what do we need to to do to shine around here??
Burn the bridge to our story. Decide that you’re never going back to it to use it as your cop out.
First, make the committed decision to change. Decide what you want. For any change to really happen, and I mean really happen, you need action. Deciding is an action.
Second, become an investigator in your own mind. Listen to your thoughts, without judgement (this is crucial), and really look at where they are. Are they feeding your story, or are they building a new healthy story that embraces who you are and encourages you to shine. If they’re not feeding you, say “thank you for coming into my mind, now I release you because I no longer need you.” Then, replace the thought with the exact opposite of what you do want to think.
Here’s one of mine – let’s say you compare yourself to someone else. Someone you believe is more successful. Your inner voice might say “there’s no room for me. She’s already doing this that and the other. I can never compete with that.” Replace it with “We all have our tribe. I cannot attract hers, and she cannot attract mine” and remind yourself of who you are and what you offer to this world. You belong here as much as the trees and the stars. You are valuable. If you aren’t sure what your talents are, or what your purpose is, then commit to finding it. Talk to supportive and loving friends who are positive and leave you feeling better than before you reached out to them. Good friends are like that. Their love and energy feeds the good in us.
Third, create the burning desire to become the best version of you that you were created to be. Be grateful for the lessons of yesterday, welcome the lessons of what is to come, and be fully present in today and the beauty of you. Fuel the fire within you to live with more impact and joy. Renew the commitment every day to learn, expand, and BE. We weren’t put on the planet to binge watch every episode of anything. Totally not shaming you if you do watch tv because I do too. This is just an invitation to be mindful of how you choose to invest your time.
Invest. You are worth the investment.
That support group got me addicted to growth because I saw that little by little and day by day I was getting better and better. But that’s because I choose to show up. Every. Single. Day.
The more you do the more you want to do because of how it feels. Listening to other peoples stories of hope and how they got through inspires us to keep going. They ask us to shine our light because our light has value, our light has a voice.
Burn the bridge and let’s eat the whole cookie.
Shine on and shine big,