Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reinventing Yourself

We usually think of celebrity figures when we hear the term "Reinventing yourself".  A child actor who declares their all-grown-upness with overt sexuality.  A woman perpetually typecast in the victim role steps out in a bad-ass headliner role.   An athlete switching sports or taking on a corporate position with style.

We don't often think that we can reinvent our own selves.  Many of us wander through life, chained to the self-image that was created for us by others.  Perhaps the parent who said you weren't good enough, the teacher who said you'd never amount to anything, a spurned lover who said you would always be alone...

Even worse than that is the self that we've created for ourselves.  Often our own self worth is so low that not only do we begin to believe the things that others tell us, we create new stories about ourselves.  I've often heard that every story has 3 sides: your side, my side and the truth.  Well, our self history has 3 sides too: what others say about us, what we say about what happened and then what really happened.

Does this seem too hard to grasp?  How about an example...  A young boy is playing on the front porch with his younger sister.  They struggle with a toy, fighting over who had it first.  A tug-of-war ensues and the younger sister falls off the porch.  Mom appears at the sound of the screams and little sis says "He did it!"  Of course mom scoops up little sis and sends big bro to time out.  While he is in time out, he may internalize the accusation and believe himself to be a bully - and thereby shapes his future.

Or, as my friend Dr. Darla Logan once told me... "I always thought that I got kicked out of kindergarten because I was too bad for school - they didn't want me.  It turned out though, that when we moved to a new district, they had different age requirements and I was too young to be enrolled."  There's what happened, and there's the story we tell ourselves about what happened.

Our minds are a powerful, perhaps THE most powerful, part of our selves.  What story have you told yourself?  How has that shaped you?  Are you ready to tell yourself a different story?

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