5 (False) Stories We Tell Ourselves

I recently started (binge) watching “New Amsterdam” on Netflix (great show by the way!) and a line from one of the episodes has stuck in my head ever since I heard it:

“Is that a fact, or a feeling?”

The line was said by the psychiatrist in the show, to one of his patients. It really resonated with me because I know several people who have fears, doubts and insecurities (well, let’s be honest, we all do) and it made me realize: we all tell ourselves stories, stories that are not facts, but are indeed feelings.

One story I tell myself is “I’m too fat“.

I’ll be celebrating my 54th birthday in a couple of days, and I’ve noticed that it’s harder and harder for me to lose weight. But then I realized, it has nothing to do with age! It’s “harder” because I eat what I want to eat, justifying it by saying, “If I die today, I die not regretting eating _______”, fill in the blank with something I find tasty but that I KNOW is bad for me, like Cheetos for instance.

So what do you think I should do to change my story? You know it as well as I do….I have to make some sort of change. Either I should stop eating Cheetos all together, which I know isn’t realistic because I really do love Cheetos. Or, I can “treat” myself to a bag of Cheetos, say, once a month….doable. OR, I can treat myself to Cheetos once a month and instead of eating half a bag, I can have one small bowl. Definitely doable, and will help me get one small step closer to my weight loss goal.

So the story behind my story, “I’m too fat” IS based on facts, I WILL die, and Cheetos ARE bad for me, but it’s still just a feeling….that I’m too fat. I DO have fat to lose, and I will, but I have to replace the “victim story” with the “conqueror story”. Nobody made me gain weight, I did that myself….so now I have to put the work in to lose that excess weight. By the way, I’m doing this for myself, not for anyone else. I just don’t like the way my clothes fit me anymore.

Can you relate to this at all?

Ok then, let’s get into it…..5 false stories we tell ourselves:

  1. I’m not good enough”. Good enough what? Do you feel you aren’t a good enough parent? A good enough partner? A good enough employee? A good enough cook? What do you feel you aren’t good enough at?

First, let’s focus on the “good enough” part. I’ll use an example….

My sister, who lends me her vehicle cringes when I say this lol: I can’t see well, but I can see well enough. Meaning, I can’t see the writing on a sign 100 meters ahead of me, but I can see well enough that I stay in my lane, I won’t cause an accident, I won’t hit another vehicle, or animal, or anything else.

So what is “good enough” to you?

And what are you basing your assessment on? Are you basing it off of social media? I’ll let you in on the worst kept secret: social media is not reality. What you see on TV, or in magazines, on Instagram, etc, that’s not reality. Those images are usually filtered or edited or doctored in some way, to make them look fantastic.

Fantastic is inspirational, and inspirational is great if it leads to your self-development, but if it leads to your self-loathing, then it’s not so great.

Fantastic is what makes people talk, “Did you see so-and-so’s IG story today? Doesn’t she look fantastic?”

Sure she looks fantastic, but that doesn’t mean she IS fantastic. She’s a human being, same as you and me. And the irony is that SHE just might think she’s not “good enough” too. Heck, she might even think she’s too fat.

It’s easy to be our own critic, in fact most of us are our own worst critics. We find “flaws” in ourselves that nobody else even notices, or if they notice it, they love that “flaw” about us. But guess what? NOBODY is perfect, nor do they have a perfect life. They likely have their own insecurities that you would have no clue they were struggling with.

2. I am the way I am and I’m not going to change.

Toward the end of my marriage, my (then) husband said to me, “You’ve changed”. Well duh, of course I’ve changed! I wasn’t the same woman in my 30’s that I was in my 20’s…nor am I now, in my early-50’s the same woman I was in my 40’s. Of course we evolve! But that’s not a bad thing. It’s only a bad thing if you’re in a fixed mind-set vs a growth mind-set.

There’s a fine line between thinking we aren’t good enough, and recognizing that we need to improve, but once you land on the right side of that line (the “I need to improve” side), then it’s just a matter of putting in some work.

3. Things will never change.

“Never” is a VERY long time, in fact, I hazard a guess that you will never see the end of never, or even the beginning of never.

Speaking in absolutes to yourself is unhealthy. First of all, you aren’t psychic, so you can’t predict what will be. Are you the same person today that you were five years ago? I’m not.

I got married when I was 22, had my daughter at 23, and my sole focus was to be the best wife and mother I could be.

In my early 30’s, my Father was diagnosed with stage IV mesothelioma and in watching how lovingly my Mother took care of him, I realized I didn’t have that love for my husband, so I asked for a divorce (well, that wasn’t the only reason I asked for a divorce, many things had happened to cause me to realize my marriage was over). The rest of my 30’s were spent as a single Mom.

In my early 40’s the stress of work and genetics made for a perfect cocktail of health issues which put me in the hospital not once but twice, both times for major surgeries which would forever change my life.

It was during my recovery from surgery #2 (thankfully the tumor was benign), which had me off work for six weeks, and I don’t know, maybe I was missing interacting with people, but I had the inexplicable urge to do something totally unlike me.

I joined a Facebook group, I can’t remember the exact name of it, but it was something like, “Robin Sharma Fan Group” or something like that. You see, I had just finished reading, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and was inspired to do something outside my comfort zone.

I was warmly welcomed and soon enough, someone made a recommendation to me to read a book by Eckhart Tolle called “The Power of Now”. I couldn’t get my hands on that book, but I DID find another of his books called, “A New Earth – Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose”. That book changed my life. It really opened my eyes, to the egos I was dealing with around me, but more importantly to my own Ego.

This blog post isn’t about that though….I’ve gotten side-tracked again (fair warning, I get side-tracked a lot lol). My point is that in my 20’s I could not have predicted the course of my life.

Never is never NEVER. Yesterday is finished. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. We all only have NOW. NOW can be frightening or overwhelming or challenging or seemingly insurmountable….but NOW can also be wonderful, thrilling, joyful, beautiful, breath-taking…..either way, NOW is not forever.

4. I don’t have time.

How many times have you said this to someone, or even thought it to yourself? I get it, Life is hectic sometimes and it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I used to work for a travel company for 12 years, my hours changed over the years, but toward the end of my time with them, my shift started at 3 pm and ended at 11 pm…..only it didn’t really end at 11 pm as there was invoicing to do, research to do, emails to answer, requests to put through (I’m a senior travel consultant by the way), so I’d often be working until 3 am (of course, getting paid for only 7.5 hours instead of the 12 I was working was a sore point, but that’s a story for another day).

Anyway, of course, working until 3 am doesn’t mean that I could just flip a switch and turn my brain off at 3 am, so I was awake until 4 or 5 am, which left only a few hours in the day for sleep, errands, housework, etc. Where in there do you think I had time for friends? Or for healthy meal-prep? Or for a nice walk in nature?

I didn’t. I told myself that I didn’t have time. This goes back to what I mentioned in point three…..the surgeries I had…and what caused them to be. I’m not a doctor or medical professional of any sort, but I’m a firm believer that stress is our number one factor in health and wellness, or more accurately, in our lack of health.

I was telling myself the story that my job was the most important thing in my life (my daughter wasn’t living with me at that time). Well guess what? Not ONE person from my job came to visit me in hospital (after either of my major surgeries). Not one. But guess who did come visit me? My family.

But that’s not the point I was going for…see? I get side-tracked easily! My point was that I didn’t make my health a priority, which is REALLY what we mean when we say “I don’t have time“.

When you say, “I don’t have time“, what you’re really saying is, “This is not a priority to me right now.” Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You DO need to prioritize what deserves your time and what doesn’t, and I don’t know you so I’m not going to tell you what those priorities should be, but be honest with yourself. What’s more important to you? Your job or your family? Spending time with your child or that email/text/phone call that just came in? Going for a walk with your partner (or your SELF!) or watching whatever’s on TV?

5. “I don’t matter”.

Of all the stories we tell ourselves, this one is the most powerful one. And the one that’s the most false. You DO matter. Everything you do throughout the day matters, even if you seemingly do nothing, it matters. What you eat matters. Where you shop matters. What you wear matters. What you throw in the garbage matters. Who you spend time with matters. What you read matters. Who you follow on social media matters. But most importantly, you matter to people who love you for YOU.

Every choice you make in the course of your day, is causing a ripple effect….for instance, let’s take the example of what you eat. What are you eating right now? Where did it come from? Did someone make it? Grow it? Produce it? Will there be waste from it? Who will handle the waste? Many people’s lives are impacted by that one simple choice you made of what to eat.

Oftentimes we affect people around us without even being aware of it. What you consider to be an inconsequential action or behaviour on your part could cause a very large impact on someone’s life. Someone you may not even know or notice.

I love this quote:

You being you is making a difference to someone. Please know this: YOU matter.

(this post is dedicated to Lee MacMillan, who lost her battle with depression on March 26, 2021; may her soul rest in peace)

Thanks for giving me fiveish minutes of your time today! 

If you found some value in this, please leave a comment below!

Constructive criticism is also welcome (I just ask that you please be kind and respectful, because that too matters).

6 Comments

  1. Awesome post! And I love New Amsterdam – great show.

    Loving your posts, Elizabeth! Looking forward to the next one 😊

    Like

  2. I can relate with almost all from your stories. Only love with hubby is right one in mine.
    Surgery, work, all I say to myself. I do. It happend.
    Great job writing this blog, dear Eli.
    I just made time to read it in peace and quiet. And relate.
    Love ❤💝

    Like

    1. Thank you very much Suzi! As you know, I am new to blogging, so getting feedback is very important to me….so again, thank you! These struggles we’ve had made us the women we are today, so I wouldn’t change anything if I had the chance. We learn as we grow. I’m very happy for you that you and your hubby are a perfect match. Sending you much love xoxoxo

      Like

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