Stop Playing Tug-o-War with Yourself!

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image: firepowerteams.com

Have you ever thought about things you do that seem to have no explanation?  

You know, those unexplained behaviors you have and you have no clue how or when they began. Maybe it’s that special way you take your coffee or how you like to make your bed or really any other personal ritual that is uniquely your own.  Those things that make you, you…

Ever stopped to think about where these behaviors came from?

Now, think about the deeper stories that define you.  Those that keep you perpetually searching for something you don’t have.  Maybe it’s a relationship, goal weight or that right career. You know the stories you tell yourself that life will be complete and/or happy, when (fill in the blank.)

Each of us is a collection of stories that shape us into who we are and how we show up in the world.  I see these stories as tapes we play in our daily life.  For most, they seem to have magically appeared from somewhere in our history. Rarely, do we take the time to examine where they showed up along the way.  It is those unexamined stories that can often have the most profound meaning.  Deep beneath the surface lies a story that we bought into years ago and still impacts our daily life.

I spent most of my life believing I was overweight.  As far back as I could remember, an unhealthy body image was my nagging companion. For full disclosure, I have never been traditionally obese, but always a more robust weight than any growth chart recommended.

Regardless, in my head, the struggle was real.

For 40 years, I’d never been able to fully piece together where this message started. One Summer day in my mom’s garage, I found some old pictures of me. A collection of photos from various ages (4–25) revealed a new truth.  I wasn’t actually “fat,” in any of them. Of course, there were those awkward teenage years where my height didn’t match my weight, but all in all, I was a relatively “normal” sized kid.

Imagine my shock.

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Image:funkyjunk.com

Honestly, carrying this message was painful.  It felt so real and had defined much of my self-esteem, as far back as I could remember. Replaying this tape had robbed me of so many opportunities to connect to myself and others.  It repeatedly affirmed that only thin people do this or I am not fit enough to try that, which robbed me of years of connection.

 Do you have a story that holds you back?

 To come full circle, I worked to understand where and how this tape started. Honest evaluation revealed that the message started with my parents. Both of them are what I would define as more traditionally “thin” and my shape was simply different that theirs.  My mother was fastidious about her weight and her own habits often left me feeling ashamed.

Instead of developing healthy self-awareness, I was in a constant tug-o-war with myself and my body.  They were never wholly integrated.  This separateness kept me constantly in a lonely and isolated state. This belief carried me forward for years, trapped in an unhealthy relationship with food and my body.

It wasn’t until I discovered the untruths of my making that I could actually examine what worked for me. Today, I know that my idea of healthy looks different than ever before.  It has allowed me to find what suits me and honor that where I am is right where I am supposed to be.  When things come up that I don’t like, I can carefully examine if they have value in my life.  That process of exploration has allowed me to get comfortable in my own skin in a way I never imagined.

What story is keeping you from the life you desire?  

Are you ready to take committed action to get it?

Join me on a continuing journey toward self-love…

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The Stories that Shape Us

Who did you want to be, before the world told you who you should be?

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Photo Credit: Montse Serrano (Pinterest)

Each of us is a collection of stories that have their own narrative.  They play out in our daily life, binding us to ourselves and others. Imagine them as the soundtrack of your life.

As the keeper of our stories, we all have the power to create connection to our heart’s desire. These stories that shape us can have a powerful effect on the action we take toward getting the life we imagine.

I encourage you to stop for a moment and consider the first thing that comes to mind as you answer the following two questions:

  1. What is one thing you desire?
  2. What keeps you from getting it?

For many of us these questions and their answers are centered on some self-improvement or manifesting a reality different from current circumstances. It could be taking on a new job search, reconnecting with someone from your past, or maybe (put your desire here). By not taking action, we can end up afraid, depressed, anxious or just misaligned.

Regardless of that aspiration, getting what we want takes inspired action. Usually, the thing(s) that hold us back are used tied to those very stories that shape us. More importantly, the place we hold for them in our daily life, through thought and action/inaction.

We have all gotten caught in this trap before. Each of us desires something we don’t have. Haven’t you played the “not good enough, not smart enough, people don’t understand me” tapes before? You are not alone… EVERYONE STRUGGLES WITH SOMETHING.

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Photo Credit: Creative Green Living (Pinterest)

Having achieved a fair amount professionally had given me many success defining stories, but there was a time in recent years where things didn’t go so well. Through some unfortunate setbacks, I showed up in ways that weren’t my proudest moments.  My wheels came completely off.

The universe met me head on and brought me to my knees. I felt ashamed, judged and cast aside. More specifically, I wholeheartedly believed this new tape, which sounded like: “You are a failure; You are not worthy; You are unlovable; And you deserve what you get.”

I allowed these powerful words to become stumbling blocks, giving them more volume than a lifetime of successful experiences, which resulted in a vastly different present and future than past success stories dictated. Every day, I was pressing play on the tapes that validated all the awful things I chose to believe about myself. Doing so, kept me stuck in a loop of life defining paralysis.

All of us have tapes from our history that hold limiting beliefs, which keep us from the life we truly desire.  The good news is that, like tapes, they can be unraveled, rewritten or just thrown away.  The power to press play is a choice you don’t have to make.

What tape do you need to stop playing?

By connecting with our heart’s desire and what stands in the way allows us a conscious opportunity to disconnect from the negative stories. Self reflection reveals the narratives that no longer serve us. By embracing the stories that shape us, we approach our humanness, which is a direct path to authenticity. _45984325_scott_466 (1).jpg

I nearly allowed a few short events to become life defining.  Fortunately, at some point the struggle revealed an opportunity for sustainable growth and healing. I made a decision to grieve what was gone and open my heart to the possibility of what could be.  Through sheer faith and determination, I took each next right step, which always revealed itself in perfect timing. By approaching them with committed courage and action, I began to put those tapes in their appropriate place.

Perhaps you are reading this thinking it sounds too easy.  I understand those feelings completely.  In truth, there were days where this work was more than I could bear.  In those times, I had to remind myself I was taking the next step, not the whole staircase.  Remember, the next step is forward movement and necessary to getting the places you want to be.

There are times I still stumble, getting caught in an old loop.  The difference now is the tape plays for minutes, not days on end.  Also, by giving up your tapes, you can turn them into a new DIY opportunity.

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Photo Credit: Creative Green Living (Pinterest)

…And doesn’t a cassette tape planter seem like a better way to use old unwanted tapes?

Isn’t it time to connect with your purpose?  Are you ready to take the next step toward the life you imagine?