Imagine if you never changed your shoes.
Not the shoes you’re wearing today.
I’m talking about the ones you wore as a little boy or little girl.
Imagine how uncomfortable your little tootsies would feel as your feet grew and the shoes started rubbing, pinching and giving you blisters.
What would happen if you left them as they were?
The uncomfortable feeling would likely turn into unbearable pain. You’d probably start to walk a little funny with a limp or you would avoid walking at all costs.
What would your feet look start to like?
Do you remember hearing about the little Chinese girls who used to have their feet broken and bound so they could fit into the tiny shoes they were told they had to wear just so that they could be loveable? Their toes broken and bent, just to fit into something they believed would make them more desirable.
Where am I going with all of this?
We grow out of lots of things in our lifetime. Like shoes. And when they no longer fit, we get bigger ones to allow out feet to grow, feel comfortable and become the size they are meant to be.
But I was thinking about this the other day.
There’s something that we don’t change very often. If at all.
Think of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.
Sit with it now for a couple of minutes.
Who are you?
What is your role in your life?
Are you a mummy, a wife, a teacher, a school volunteer? A photographer just starting out, a part time blogger, someone who used to be a nurse?
Let’s go a little bit deeper than that, let’s look at who it is we believe we are.
Not very organised, lazy, shy, ugly, not very good at…
And where do these stories come from?
When did you decide these things were true?
If you’re anything like me, you probably created stories about your life from the things that have happened to you and the things you have done in your life.
But the thing is, when we create a story, it defines who we are. We assume that role in our life.
And it is who we believe we are determines the way we act. Every single day.
It hit me that the things I still believe about myself do not serve me any more. It’s almost as if I’ve outgrown them. I’ve not taken on board any of the things that have happened since I created these stories. And I’ve done a heck of a lot since!
So if I continue living my life believing things I made up about myself, most of which were probably decided before the age of 10 (when I had oh so much worldly knowledge), with the odd one picked up along the way, then I’ll probably just keep acting like a bloody 7 year old is running the ship.
I’d never become the person I want to grow into.
I’ll just act like a scared little girl in a grown up’s body.
Here are some of the stories I’ve been telling myself:
I’m a scared little girl.
I’m not very confident.
I don’t fit in.
Nobody likes me.
I feel lost.
Nobody fancies me.
I’m a sad little girl.
I’m a weak little girl.
I just want to be liked.
I’m a newbie photographer.
I don’t know what I’m doing in business.
Nobody takes me seriously.
Is that really who I am?
If these things were really true, would I be spilling my guts out here and giving talks and workshops in front of people I’ve never met before? Would I have travelled alone in places like Thailand and Australia? Would I have been self-employed since 2012 collecting many happy loyal customers and wonderful testimonials telling me how the photos I took were so good I made them cry? Would people constantly message me to tell me I’m an inspiration and how the happiness work I do has helped them?
I don’t think so!
But because deep, deep down I believe something else about myself, these things don’t seem to go in. It’s like they bounce straight off me. If new information comes in that doesn’t reinforce the old story about myself, then I can’t take it in – I hold my stories dear to me. I must only believe that which I made up about myself at the age of 7.
Have a think about the stories you tell yourself.
I dare you to call bullshit on some of the old ones.
Prove yourself wrong. Step into the role you want to have and see how that changes how you feel about yourself. Feel better about who you are now and what you’re doing with your life. Not who you decided you were when you were 7.
Because you’re awesome and so am I x
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