We love telling ourselves stories, in fact we are meaning making machines. We can attach meaning to just about anything (making it good, bad or ugly) and at times this can be utterly destructive. I know I for one am guilty of this, for years I never felt like I was enough because of my disability. I thought people couldn’t see the person ‘me’ or my gifts, all they could see was the physical barriers that had been put up between me and the world. Admittedly this was my internal dialogue yet in some cases this was also true in the community. But the narrative that I kept reinforcing was that this was the case in every case and that I was disadvantaged and unequal – which simply made my life harder. Only truth be told, what I wasn’t seeing was the whole picture. What I was missing was the power of perception.
Anyhow, to keep things as general as I can, yes we all tell ourselves a lot of false truths – and often these are to keep ourselves safe or even stuck. These may play out on either a conscious or subconscious level. But no matter which way, the result is typically destructive. These false beliefs can inhibit our transformation and personal growth. They keep us from reaching our fullest potential.
So, what I thought I might do is run over ten of the more common tales we might tell ourselves – especially when experiencing significant adversity. And sure this is about creating awareness but even more importantly this is about not sabotaging your own self-beliefs. Like these ten tales can potentially be super damaging to your confidence, and a key in overcoming adversity is your faith and belief that you can. So, this is about being aware of the negatives, to eliminates or reframe them, then to make ways for the positives. Fingers crossed.
Self-labelling – I believe the only label we should worry about is human being, everything else is just social construction, limiting or an outward expression of identity. It’s our ego and limiting beliefs putting ourselves in a box. But yeah, yeah, I can also see why people do it, there is a lot of comfort in a tribe. You are surrounded by your people and identity is implied. Only what if this is what’s hoding you back? Change doesn’t typically take place in a comfort zone.
Not belonging, – because of your adversity you’ve probably been thrust ibto a place that you don’t want to be. Your entire world may have fallen apart. And no doubt none of this is ideal, I’m sorry for your shist, but as I like to think of it now this is the call to adventure on your hero’s journey/ So, maybe leave your old world and tribe, give your desire to belong a break, and start to think about your life as a quest. A journey of discovery and growth. Savour experiences not safety.
Not being enough – weird fact but being born makes you worthy, in fact it gives you entitlement to the human experience and that is why we are here. Actually from a spiritual perspective many say that we are here to grow our soul. To relish in the rollercoaster of life and become a better person through it all. Still, as I originally did I’m sure a few of you will struggle with this concept, so maybe try to think of this in terms of personal power. We all have it. We all have a gift whereby we can offer something unique to the world. This is our worth – even if it only impacts one person. Possibly you just have to get out of your own way to allow this light shine? Let others see you and your heart.
Adversity is not a flaw (it’s an experience) – something that surprises me is how little we celebrate uniqueness, even a bend in the road for that matter. We tend to favour sameness and simplicity. However, what I find strange about this, when was the last time you were at a barbeque bragging about your mediocre life or quest for normalcy? Telling people how you don’t stand out? Hence, I believe we all secretly want a point of difference and a story (no matter how it comes) as this is what makes us interesting. Or it’s our idiosyncrasies and flaws that brings dimension to our lives.
Not your fault – a lot of people blame themselves for an unfortunate turn of events. They think things like they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, that they could’ve done better, or worse still that they’re cursed. Actually, there could be a million and one dark thoughts running through somebody’s mind, however all these are really doing is shifting responsibility and holding you back. Life happens, the good and the bad. Absolute tragedy happens to the best of people, it’s simply part of the human experience. But most of all this is not your fault. It’s chance, bad luck, a roll of the dice if you will… but blame is simply a trap. Don’t waste precious moments of your life being caught up in it.
Powerless – okay sure some things we can change others we cannot, yet as far as feeling powerless toward a predicament this is often perception, even a choice. Like nine times out of ten something can be done no matter how small the change, it’s all part of your journey. You now have the power to find out what you’re truly made of. And to reaffirm one thing, even if it’s not a choice or action that directly benefits yourself, I’m certain that you will have the power to impact others. Be inspiring, make a difference, touch hearts for this is your truest power. Yes, adversity will shift you out of the superficial world into a deeper more meaningful one.
Can’t break the cycle – as humans we are often creatures of habit, we drink our coffee the same way each day, we get dressed in the same order every day too. Now, when it comes to adversity, sheesh it’s all too easy to get caught up in the same repetitive drama. We get sucked into the cycle of self-pity and destruction. Yet the reality is that we have to do something, start small. If we hate where we’re at taking action is just about the only thing that will dig us out of a hole, plus it will help build confidence and we’ll also feel accomplished. Be pro-active otherwise the world will just happen to you. So, if you want results you really do have to put in and play your part. You’re totally worth it.
What will people think of me – in our modern day societies a lot of focus is put on social standing and significance. Often this is what makes people feel worthy as human beings. But with such a shallow world-view, when adversity comes knocking, a drastic shift in focus can be made that makes people feel the doom and gloom. In turn, they also believe that’s all other people see as well. Yet, this is actually a time when people can display their spirit, their strengths, even re-define themselves. So, rather than outside parties expressing only empathy, this can very easily be turned in to admiration as well.
It’s too much to handle – adversity or even change for that matter can overwhelm many people. It can consume our thoughts, seemingly impact every aspect of our lives, often rob us of our happiness. Gees it’s not like I haven’t said this before, sorry. But what I’m trying to get at is two things – one is that we need to make meaningful distractions in our lives, yet I think even more importantly, when seeking to overcome adversity we need to break it down. Step by step, day by day. Make a list of priorities and tick them off. Even if our mountain is enormous, every step forward will find you in a different place. Your view will be different.
Tomorrow is a fresh start – now this is something that I’m constantly reminding myself of, and this is that the past is the past, we can’t change that. Then the future is simply something we can dream about, plan for, or we can even put things in place now that will hopefully bring about positive outcomes. But that’s it, all we have is this present moment. This is where our actions can dictate our path forward. This is where we can choose, even take life-shaping or changing actions. This is our fresh start – when we first open our eyes every morning.