This post may sound harsh.
I don't mean it to.
But this topic is something I feel so passionate about that my intensity may come across as harshness.
Please don't take it that way. My heart is actually full of love and compassion.
For each and every one of you.
For the ways we've been holding ourselves back and living small, fearful, and contained lives.
Every single day — as a coach, as a friend, as a mother, as a business associate — I hear people telling lies.
They may not know they are telling lies. But they are doing it nonetheless. Maybe “lies” is a harsh word (there's that harshness I was talking about). Maybe telling stories is a gentler way of saying it. We tell ourselves stories. We tell others stories.
We say things like . . .
- Everything in my life is bad right now.
- I can't do that or my family would fall apart.
- I've tried that before and it never works.
- I can't live without him (her).
- I'm just not disciplined enough.
- I'm totally overwhelmed.
- I'll never get out from under this debt.
- There's no way to change my life.
- I'll never be able to find a job I love.
- My childhood (divorce, break-up, job loss) has wounded me forever.
But all of these things (and hundreds of others) are just stories we create. We tell them over and over. We tell them so often, they feel real. Our minds accept them as real. Our neural pathways embrace them as real. And reality is perception anyway, right?
Sometimes I want to sob with gratefulness for having discovered (quite late in life), that these stories are not real. They are smoke and mirrors. But they have the power to hold us down like the iron fist of an invisible Goliath. “Stay put,” they tell us. “Stay put or you'll die.” So we stay put.
Sure, there may be some truth to the stories we tell ourselves. Maybe something happened back in the day to launch our original tale. But with every telling, the tale gets taller. The story grows arms and legs and waltzes us around like a helpless rag doll. The story blindfolds and controls us.
But consider this for a moment: if someone said to you, “I will give you a million dollars if you prove your story wrong in the next year” — could you do it?
If you knew that a million dollars was waiting for you at the end of a year, would you do everything in your power to drop the story, reverse your beliefs, take bold action, and turn your life, your faith, your dreams around?
Think about it for a moment. For a million dollars would you be willing to . . .
- stop talking about your past as an excuse for your present?
- stop thinking about why you can't and assume with certainty that you can?
- stop coming up with reasons for not doing it, and rather take action on it every day?
- stop thinking negatively about yourself and your life and put on some rose-colored glasses?
- stop blaming other people and take full and complete responsibility for your life?
- stop assuming you know more about the “truth” of the situation than you actually do?
Have you ever noticed when you have a huge positive (or negative) motivation all of our stories tend to immediately drop away? Boom. The rubber meets the road. Real reality steps in like a super hero. Like one of those mothers who can lift a car off her trapped child.
If I could give you a million dollars to help you with the motivation to drop your stories I would. But I think I have something better. I think I have something with more longevity.
Stop what your doing for a moment and look outside. In fact, walk outside. Look at the trees, the beautiful green and luscious trees. And the grass. And the blue sky. Listen to the birds singing. Breathe in the smells.
Now think about your family. Your parents. Your children. Your dearest friends. The people who take care of you or serve you at the store or in a restaurant. Think about all of these people and the love and humanity you share with them, even those you may not get along with or like very much.
Think about your body now. How you breathe without thought. Your lungs take in air and your heart beats and your muscles and bones support you. Think about the freedom you have to move around and get where you want to go. Think about all of your senses of touch and taste and smell.
Think about all of the things you can do that don't cost one red cent. You can read books, listen to music, spend the day in a park. You can share a meal with friends, talk with your children, or stare at the stars.
I could go on and on and on with this.
Life is beautiful.
That is the real story.
These things are worth far more than a million dollars. They are priceless.
You can choose, without the motivation of money or any other enticement, to see these beautiful things and let your stories drop. You can choose today to see what is right in front of your eyes and focus your attention on this reality. You can choose to know in your depths that for every story you tell, there is another truth you aren't seeing.
Or you can believe your stories and lies and cripple your own life.
I would like to invite you for a day, or a week, or the rest of your life, to drop your stories. Stop telling lies. Assume the opposite is true. Assume infinite possibilities. Allow beauty and love and wonder to move to the forefront of your field of awareness, and let negativity and fear and drama fall away like a shroud.
Was this too harsh? Have I made you bristle? I hope not. It was written with love and full faith in the person you can become — in the new story you are writing for yourself.