Those old stories……

“In the light, we read the inventions of others; in the darkness we invent our own stories. ” 

Alberto Manguel

I was prompted this week to write a Facebook post about “the old stories you tell yourself”.  This really had me thinking about the stories that I have held over the years and how easy it is to let that story dictate my life, even for a short time.

My post read:

Well, another timely prompt as I have found some vulnerabilities resurfacing lately and my negative self-talk has got a little more LOUDER.

A few examples include the dreaded photos in which I have told myself that I take horrible photos!  Well, that’s not true all the time, however it did get reinforced when I was undergoing treatment and felt more vulnerable than usual.  I have some lovely photos from the High Tea (with a couple of doozies thrown in when I was pulling some great faces).  I also included my recent photo shoot which also helped in changing my old story.

Another one is about the weight that has slowly crept on in recent times and is making me feel rather uncomfortable as it reminds me of when I gave up smoking and put on 2 dress sizes.  One of my male mates reframed it and said, “Doesn’t that mean that you are now healthy?” 

This has given me a new perspective and I am attempting to embrace the changes.

What old stories are you continuing to tell yourself and do they need a fresh perspective?

It’s horrid that we only need to hear something about ourselves 7 times before we believe it to be true (even if it is our own thoughts).  To believe in a positive statement, it takes many thousands of times. 

Unfortunately, being vulnerable leads to further vulnerability such as anxiety and low self-esteem.  We feel bruised and that is how we view the world, and each knock back adds another layer.  None of us are immune to negative thoughts and the impact that they bring, however I know that it is possible to retrain the brain to challenge these thoughts and to build new pathways. 

Ways to challenge the thoughts include testing the reliability of the information – how true is the statement.  Is it true every time or is my thinking skewed? 

To build new pathways, consider looking at positive thinking or a positive mindset.  I worked alongside a brilliant psychiatrist who challenged a mutual client to write three things daily that they were grateful for.  Whilst it did take a little time for this person to change their mindset, the daily gratitude did work, and they began to see life more positively. 

There are many benefits of having a positive mindset, with the best one is that it makes us more resilient when life throws us curve balls.