GirlTip: The hardest risks to take are the ones that dare to challenge our harshest stories about ourselves.
For example, if I secretly fear that deep down, I lack discipline, trying to change my diet or exercise regimen is particularly scary — because if I fail, it may confirm my deepest held anxiety: that I really am as lazy as I secretly believe.
We all harbor these dark stories about ourselves. They are cruel narratives many of us never share. These stories whisper, “See, I knew you couldn’t do it, you’ve always been this way.” Or: “See, I knew you’d end up alone. You were always meant to be that way.”
And when we fall short, the stories become that much more true and indelible–which is why risks in this space feel so overwhelming.
If you’re getting ready to take a risk in this tender domain — that place where you secretly fear something is irreversibly true — know why the stakes are higher.
And try this:
1. Be aware. Most everyone harbors these self-critical stories, but we don’t have to identify with them. We don’t have to believe everything we think. Listen to the story, and know it comes from somewhere deep in your past, but it’s not your future. Listen to the voice, and know it is part of you — but not all of you.
2. Seek extra support. Shame feeds on silence. Tell someone the story you are telling yourself. Show it the light of day, and let someone listen and talk with you about your fears. Ask for support with the risk you want to take.
3. Ask yourself who — or what — you want to change yourself for. Sometimes, we can draw extra courage from a sense of purpose or meaning beyond ourselves. If there is a person you want to be better for, or an ideal or value you want to exemplify, draw strength from that.
I wish all of you a 2019 filled with joy, learning and love.