When my first marriage broke up I told myself that marriages only fail if you’re a failure or you haven’t been good enough.
Where I got this story from I’m not sure. It could be the fact that no one in my extended family had ever been divorced (that’s not true any more)!
Holding onto this story had a huge impact on my confidence and self-esteem. It meant that for a long time I only dated men that were unlikely to commit. I didn’t feel worthy of a committed relationship or able to trust again.
With time I was able to challenge this story and recognised that of course it wasn’t true and question why I ever believed it. As a result I am now very happily married.
The same is true of the stories we tell ourselves in other areas of our lives such as our body image and our careers.
I worked with a client recently who was intimidated around senior male leaders. Despite usually being assertive when interacting with male directors she crumbled and became a ‘yes’ woman.
With some digging we discovered that from her early traditional childhood she’d told herself the story that to get love and approval from dominant males you had to be subservient and respectful.
Once she recognised this behaviour and the story behind it she was able to make the mindset shift to start and change her responses.
There are many stories however illogical that we tell ourselves and you might recognise some of these:
“It’s not worth the struggle as a woman to climb the career ladder so I’ll quit now”
“Being overweight means people judge and don’t trust you”
“It’s not nice as a woman to be ambitious”
“If I could just … (stop drinking, exercise more, get a promotion, move house) life would be perfect”
“Everyone else finds life easier than me”
“Xmas needs to be perfect!”
Recognise the tall tale you’re telling yourself and find evidence to disprove it. Then you’ll have the freedom to behave in a way that boosts rather than drains your confidence.
If you’d like to discover the hidden stories you’re telling yourself to enable you to break free ,then send me an email or book a free call at www.speakwithjo.com. I’d love to speak to you.