We are notorious for changing our outfit five times before leaving the house for a dinner party.
Its just gotta feel right. You’ve gotta nail the right vibe.
But also? We role play a BUNCH of scenarios in our heads, while wearing each outfit.
“Oh, this old thing? You’re too kind.”
But this?! THIS?! Is something else entirely.
It’s been 30 minutes, and my 4-year old daughter is STILL getting dressed. She’s going through a phase right now. And it is testing my patience. To. The. Max.
There is a pile of clothes on the floor. And nothing is quite right.
She hates strings. Tags. Seams that don’t align. Pants that are too tight. Sleeves that are too short. Socks that are “too socky” (wtf does that mean?!). And shoes that are too pinchy.
She would be 100% happy if she could walk around completely naked. But I’m pretty sure that would raise some eyebrows.
“Good god, Clara! You’re so picky! Just throw something on and be done with it already!”
I can’t hold back my frustration any longer.
But then I stop. And realize. Huh. Wait a minute. I’m telling her a story.
A story that she’s a picky girl.
And just like any other story I tell her……Little Red Riding Hood…..Cinderella……she’s internalizing that shit. Big time.
What we think, we become
I start to think about the stories in my own head. The things people have told me over the years.
She’s good at ballet.
She’s a horrible baker.
And I wonder. How much of it is innately true? And how much of it have I simply believed to be true?
Ah yes. The stories in our own heads.
What we think, we become.
And it is worth pausing, to ask ourselves….what do we think about who we are? And where did those stories come from
We are all a collection of stories
Like a collage….or a patchwork quilt…..we a pieced together, with stories. Stories from our grade-2 teacher….our first boyfriend…..our mother…..our favourite grocery store clerk.
We see ourselves through others eyes.
And although those stories can often lift us up, and give us confidence…..they can also weigh us down, and hold us back.
And THAT is worth digging into.
Because it is our own happiness that is at stake.
The stories that hold us back
For me, it’s the simple stuff. Like the story……“I’m not a runner.”
Or “I suck at playing the piano.”
I’ve challenged both of those stories over the past few weeks. And on both fronts, I’ve actually surprised myself.
But it’s the centre of the tootsie-roll pop you really wanna get to.
It’s the soul-defining stories. The stories that are so deeply buried, you start hitting liquid hot magma as you uncover them.
These are the nasty little stories that are most likely holding you back from true happiness.
And as I’ve been journeying down this deep dark cave of wonders (cue the Aladdin theme music!), I’ve noticed two types of stories that hold me back.
I need to be who they say I should be
Oh sweet Jesus. We all just want to be liked, don’t we?
It is our worst nightmare to be the outcast. The uncool one. The one who gets eye rolls behind closed doors.
And truthfully, some of those deep-seeded stories about who we are, come from society at large. Have you played the board game, Life, lately?! It is a mandatory hard stop to get married. Don’t worry. When I played with my kids the other day, I let them choose whether they got married or not. And I was pleasantly surprised when they each chose to get married….to a member of the same sex. “Girls rule!” Clara said.
I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of pressure I felt to uphold the identity of “wife,” even though it went against my own happiness. Hell, I was more nervous to talk to my sisters, than I was my own husband, about the divorce. Almost. I was that scared about what they were gonna think about me.
So often, we sacrifice our own happiness, just to “fit in.”
But maybe being the wild flower provides even more happiness.
This theory? Currently in testing mode.
I need to be who I said I was
Did you ever have a buddy-ol-pal who said to you….. “fine then. I’m not your best friend anymore.”
Sure. You get all offended. You sulk about it.
But then you find a new best friend. Or maybe your friend comes crawling back once she sees you have cookies in your lunch bag.
Either way. Life goes on.
And truth be told, that friend can absolutely change her mind. She has every right to.
All too often, we are sticklers about holding people prisoner to their identities.
And one of the darkest stories I’ve been holding onto, is the story that I am a liar.
I told my husband, “until death do you we part.”
I told him, I would love him forever.
And I changed my mind.
That one’s been plaguing me (completely under the surface) for a while now. There’s massive guilt around not being who I said I was going to be.
And in this time of healing and self-love, I’m coming to accept that…..it’s ok to change your mind about who you are.
Your happiness is dependent upon your ability to let go of the obligation to be who you said you were. Because maybe, just maybe, the label doesn’t fit anymore.
Be picky about what stories you hold close to your heart
Our minds are more powerful than we give them credit for. They hold our past, our present, and our imagined future, all at once. And like a library, they are full of stories.
Be picky about what stories you hold close to your heart. As picky as a 4-year old girl. Because some of those stories? They are holding you back from true happiness.