Is Your Story Holding You Back?

Whether you know it or not, you probably have some pretty good stories that you tell yourself about who you are.

What you can do. What you can’t do.

And sometimes these stories are so subtly woven into the framework of our thinking that we don’t even notice them. While some of these stories help give us a sense of identity and security, others are incredibly dangerous because they keep us small and keep us from believing that we can achieve whatever we want to.

Today I want to talk about what I consider to be one of the most dangerous stories we can tell ourselves.”I can’t because… I am the fat girl/fat boy” story. Now, I don’t care at all what your weight is at this very moment. You can be at the lowest weight of your life. Or the highest. Doesn’t matter. But wherever you are in your personal weight journey, you have to drop this story. Right now. It is holding us back from our full potential.

I say “us” because even though I am 7 years down the road from my own 70-pound weight loss and have done a lot of work on rephrasing my own story, I am still surprised to find myself blindsided by it from time to time.

Most recently, I found myself gasping for breath in the middle of a long swim workout when it bubbled to the surface. I had been busting my butt throughout the practice, but no matter how hard I tried I just could not swim any faster that day. As I saw the other swimmers pulling ahead of me after each flip turn {I’m not competitive at all, I promise…} I started mentally berating myself for being so incredibly worthless and incapable. “It’s because I am fat,” I thought, “If you were skinnier you would have no problem swimming faster than that guy in the other lane. May as well throw in the towel now because it doesn’t matter how hard I try because it won’t matter.”

Woah, there.

Luckily, since I spend a lot of time working on my clients on the topic of self talk, it didn’t take me too long to wake up and realize what I was doing. I was wallowing around in the middle of an old story I used to tell myself that was no longer true or relevant anymore. How I was performing that day had very little to do with ‘being the fat girl’ (if that were even true). It had a lot more to do with a retreat back to a comfortable old story I started telling myself even as a child: that something was deeply wrong and inadequate with me because I struggled with my weight.

And that story was there for a reason. It served me well to help me feel protected. If I didn’t try my hardest, I couldn’t fail. If I played small and kept to myself, maybe I could be invisible and nobody would notice me or my weight.

As I swam down that lane that day, I savagely cast aside all the self-trust and confidence in myself that I had created for myself over the past 7 years. Tossed it all aside as if it were nothing. And it was surprisingly easy to do.

That’s because our stories can be powerful stuff. Especially when they take root when we are very young. But if I was more gentle on myself and saw the situation more clearly, I might have been able to manage the situation with a little more self-love and clarity by looking at the true facts:

  1. I was only two weeks into getting back into a sport that I hadn’t practiced in over 5 years.
  2. I had no idea how much training “the other guy” has been putting in.
  3. With hard work and consistency, I was just as capable as anyone else to keep on improving.

You see, any of us really can achieve whatever we want to. We have that power. But if we keep using our story to tell us we can’t, I promise it will truly feel impossible to push through it.

So this week, my challenge to you is to pay attention. When the going gets tough, take notice of what story starts playing in your head like an old movie reel. Take a step back, notice the triggers, take a look at the facts, and then urge yourself to get back in the game like you would to a loving friend you believe in.

If this post rings true for you, I would love to hear what stories who have been working on managing. Shoot me an email at jen@coachingbyjennifer.com – I read and respond to every single email.

Until next week, keep pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. You never know what you will find there!

xx jen

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