The Crippling Lies You May Be Telling Yourself

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 myself.

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.

Comments

  1. Diana Baur says:

    Love it. And you. xo

  2. Angelica says:

    Lovely post. Thank you so much for these beautiful words.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Angelica,
      I am so glad you liked it. Thank you for your kind words.

  3. Barrie- I love this post! Everything you say is so true! Thank so much for sharing these things with the rest of us. You have brought so much to my life, I think of you like my online mentor for finding my life’s passion. Yes, I am doing the work, but you have brought me these wonderful resources to do so and I want to say thank you! In fact, I can’t thank you enough. My own life is blooming because I have decided to quit telling myself these very lies.

    Jenna

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Jenna,
      That is just the loveliest thing to say to me! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words. I’m so delighted you are “doing the work.” It’s an on-going process isn’t it? Here’s to dropping our lies!

  4. Thank you. Very uplifting…Could not have received this at a better time.

  5. What if the pain (“story”) you’re feeling is real? And it doesn’t go away? Even though you’d rather not feel/believe it? And, what if you don’t know what steps to take to change a situation? What then?

    • Maria, I think you just have to give yourself time to heal. I lost my son 6 years ago and have not been able to take a step forwards since, but I get up every morning and try to get through the day, and I read books about people in similar circumstances and try to take motivation from them. Talk to people, and share your worries and you might find that the pain eases a little You have carry on for the other people in your life. xx

    • I know what you mean. I can’t change the reality that my wife left and took my world with her, but I can somehow, in the deepest region of my broken heart, believe that somehow, I can go on and survive and maybe even find a better love than one who so easily walked out on her husband.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Maria,
      There are certainly real situations that are very painful. I don’t know what the cause of your pain might be, but if it is truly debilitating you, I hope you will talk with a counselor to help you work through the issues. Talk therapy is so healing — and so is time. Both Amanda and Danny have given you wise advice. In the meantime, try to distract yourself by focusing on things you enjoy and that make you feel good. Sending warm thoughts and a big hug your way.

  6. Thank You. Brand new blog reader, and yours was my first choice to say yes to, starting today.

    OMG, I so needed to be reminded by your loving stark truth…wake up, drop the shroud of stories,excuses, reasons and why nots, look for the beauty and awe of what is now, be grateful and LIV, creating the life your heart desires.!

    So timely as I got some news of my mother’s emergency surgery. 55 Years of our roller coaster relationship ride matters not, the past two years of heart connection, overrode the prior 55 and today I am sitting in gratitude for her love, our heart connection and for being an influential woman in my life at this time of my life,recovering from a brain injury, when we so both could appreciate each other as women and ┬ámother/daughter. We truly have given forth/forgiven the past and stepped into creating a new story. I am grateful for the miracle of that as I await the news from my sister across country, of her successful 8 hr surgery. Thank you for your blog, your strong urging of love, to be love and loving of what is, now! Blessed be to you and all who read you and those you love and that love you.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      What a beautiful story Diana. I’m so thrilled you and your mother have found peace and love in your relationship. It’s never too late is it? I’m so sorry your family has experienced several health challenges and surgeries. I wish you a speedy recovery and a continued loving connection with your mom.

  7. Great post! And you are right, for some reason we are not aware of the amazing capacity we have to change are lives.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Ana Cristina,
      So nice to see you here! I hope your life changes are going well! ­čÖé

  8. Davi Kay says:

    Life is indeed beautiful…with the right attitude, with a real sense of gratitude and an understanding that we should not think less of ourselves… but should think of ourselves less.
    Many thanks for enhancing my journey.
    DK.

  9. Exactly at the right moment. I needed this so much! I do not know how to thank you…

    God bless you,

    Cheerio

    Marco

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Marco,
      Isn’t is amazing when something arrives in your inbox at exactly the right moment? I’m so glad my post came to you at the right time.

  10. People need to hear the truth, in some form or another. Being honest with yourself is incredibly hard but incredibly formative.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      You are so right Mike. The truth will always set up free — even when the truth is hard to accept.

  11. andrian stroici says:

    It’s seems like I find a piece of me In most of your posts. Looks like I’ve got a lot of work to do on myself. Thanks for sharing your ideas and lessons you’ve learnt. God bless you!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Andrian,
      We all have a lot of work to do on ourselves — it’s a lifelong journey. Enjoy the ride. ­čÖé

  12. David Stevens says:

    We all have stories to tell Barrie. The trouble is that most believe the ones that aren’t true …

    Be good to yourself
    David
    Life Coach. Listener. Solution Finder.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Sadly so David. I think it’s healthy to challenge every belief and assumption we have.

  13. Great post Barrie and wonderful reminder.

    What ever we focus our attention on we get more of …. if we focus on limiting beliefs (lies) we get more limitations. Speaking strongly and calling them what they really are lies is the first step to empowering ourselves to focus more on love and our limitless nature.

    With love and aloha,
    Susan

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi there Susan,
      Thank you so much for always writing such lovely comments. Yes, the truth is very, very empowering isn’t it?

  14. The woman in the photo is like a dream. Wo bist du?

  15. Barrie, this was such a great read!

    I think a lot of our “limits” are really just barriers that we have in our heads. These barriers aren’t real, but like you said, we repeat it to ourselves so many times that it becomes true to us.

    When I go through tough days, I remind myself how lucky I am. Things are as bad as I am making them out to be.

    I remind myself that I have a roof over my head, I had a full meal to eat – how many others in the world would dream to have these things that we take for granted?

    I think it all comes down to my perspective. Things could always be worse.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Yes, all of us reading blog posts on the internet are better off than 99% of the rest of the world. We have so much to be grateful for. But I think it goes beyond just gratitude. I think we need to learn to see with new eyes, so that the good things in life take up most of our field of vision. We see what we decide to focus on.

  16. Thank you for this wonderful article. I love your blog so much. You are very inspiring.

    Lately I have really looked for the beauty of nature. Listening to the leaves in the wind and birds singing. Looking how green the grass and trees are. It makes me feel so peaceful inside.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      It is peaceful Trina. We spend so much time behind our computers and television that we forget how much peace nature affords. I’m glad you are noticing!

  17. Oh boy, do I recognize this!! It took me forever to get real with myself and start telling the truth! Love this article and do realize I still have some self work to do:)
    Thank you so much!:)
    Here go the rest of my stories:)

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Cheyenne,
      Never fear — you are not alone. I think this work is ongoing. Sometimes it takes years to uncover our stories and have the courage to let them go. This learning is part of the amazing experience of life.

  18. DiscoveredJoys says:

    I read several ‘famous’ self help blogs and this is the one that consistently contains the best articles, so thank you very much.

    Stories we tell ourselves (self sabotage) is one of my particular concerns. Some stories we create ourselves, and some we adopt because what we think ‘other people’ want. My most limiting self story is that I ‘haven’t got a passion’ but I’m working on it.

  19. Hi Barrie, what an amazing perspective, and no it was not harsh it was just what I needed. Your’s is the “Millionaires Club” I want to belong to. Thanks.

    Mike B.

  20. Empowering message Barrie – and I agree, in no way was it harsh. I’ve found that as I was able to let go of negativity in my own life, I became far more discerning about who I spend time with. It’s not enough for me to live my life with gratitude and a positive attitude, I want to associate and work with people of like minds.

  21. Hi, lovely post. i love your articles and this one is no exception. such good thoughts and compassionate words. just keep writing and enlightening us.

  22. Janet Akhimioshimhe says:

    This is nothing but the truth. I love it.

  23. Hi Barrie, It was a great lesson. Told in a simple manner to make everyone understand.

    But please tell me why we thrive on negativity. Why we like self pity which makes us powerless? Is it that we don’t appreciate good untill we see bad. Why these motivational thoughts stay for shorter time than the negative thoughts?

    Hope to hear from you more.Thanks again.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That is a great question Ashok. Negative thoughts have a lot of power over us because they generate fear. We continue to ponder negative thoughts in order to gain a sense of control, and by pondering them we actually empower the thoughts. If you begin to consciously reframe your thinking and focus on positive thoughts, you will eventually loosen the grip of negative thinking.

  24. laura turpan says:

    what a BEAUTIFUL STORY OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY!

  25. Awesome!!!

  26. You make some great points here Barrie. I don’t think it was harsh at all (though I may not be the best judge of this).

    It’s so common for us to shroud ourselves in visions of doubt and fear. We only see the negative possibilities, the unfavorable outcomes. We never get a look at all the opportunity that’s out there. So we simply do nothing . . . just sit there and stagnate.

    Nothing good ever comes of stagnation.

    When you said “stop assuming you know more about the ÔÇťtruthÔÇŁ of the situation than you actually do,” it hit me like a slap in the face. This is a serious flaw of my personality. I always assume I know what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what the outcome is going to be.

    Of course, it’s all just scenarios made up in my head. But it has a powerful ability to affect how I act. Or more likely, keep me from acting at all.

    Thanks for dishing out a little hard truth Barrie. It’s something we all need to hear from time to time.

    Cheers!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Trevor (love that name!),
      Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful comments. I often think about all of the things I would have done in my younger years if I hadn’t been shrouded in fear and doubt. I guess we all must grow though that to understand how false and debilitating it is. I was also “slapped in the face” by that same awareness Trevor — I don’t know the total truth about anything. There are myriads of possibilities and outcomes. Now, if I’m going to assume something about the future, I try to assume the most positive outcome. Or at least I try. I still have vestiges of fear and doubt. ­čÖé

  27. it wasn’t harsh at all! it was spot on! thanks for this. you’ve made my morning “coffee” that much sweeter. Ready to seize the day now.