The Stories Inside Our Head: 4 Powerful Substitutes for the Negative Stories We Tell Ourselves
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Can you think of a story that’s been rolling around like a marble inside your own mind about who you are and how much you’re capable of?
Chances are, you’re carrying around some stories that other people have told you as well about who you are and what’s right for your life.
Often these stories come in the form of expectations of how others see our lives unfolding. Parents and family members have a particularly strong influence when it comes to creating the stories we carry around inside our heads.
They may be projecting their own fears on us about risking too much or dreaming too big or steering us clear from unknown paths because “no one else in our family has ever done it that way”. Without realizing it, those stories in our heads create success barriers.
Thankfully, not all of the stories inside our heads are necessarily negative ones. Maybe we were encouraged to do great things and live bold lives. Maybe the story inside our mind is that we’re here for a purpose – to help others and add value to the world. Those are great story lines and we need to continue carrying with us.
But what about the others? How do we replace the negative stories in our heads with positive ones?
Here are four tips I offer my clients who are facing this challenge:
1. Pay attention to your thoughts.
Listen closely to the stories you’re telling yourself day in and day out. Notice when the stories you’re repeating to yourself aren’t serving you anymore. Think about where those stories originated. Are they still true today? Were they ever true? Reflect on which stories need to be revised and which stories can stay if you are to move ahead in your success journey.
2. Dare to flip the script.
What would the story inside your head look like if it were the complete opposite? For instance, if you’re telling yourself like I did that you belong behind the scenes, what if the opposite were true and you actually belong front and centre? What would that new story look like in your life?
If the story you tell yourself is that no one in your family has ever started a business before, imagine the opposite to be true: imagine yourself being the first person in your family to lead a highly successful company that employs other smart and capable individuals to make real change in the world.
3. Remind yourself of your new story constantly so it begins to take root in your mind.
Say it out loud to yourself. Write it out in short form on post-it notes and put them in places you won’t be able to miss. Share your new vision with someone in your life that you can trust – not for their approval necessarily, but so you can hear yourself telling a new story about your own life. With time, you’ll start to believe it too.
4. Look around for role models.
Who are the other people around you who have changed their own story? How did they flip the script? Where possible, reach out and learn from them. If they can do it, so can you!