“If I don’t give this work my all, I’m stealing from those who need my message the most.” It was a seismic shift in my mindset! Moving from being apprehensive to share my story to being 100% determined to share my story, and doing everything possible to make that happen.
It feels like, in the world today, we are prone to devalue our stories—our big, beautiful, important stories. In other words, I think we too easily lean toward silencing our voices. We tell ourselves that we don’t have anything important to say. What could someone like me possibly have to offer?
I used to be a pro at doubting my worth. I was the MVP of self-sabotage. I didn’t see the value of my story, instead, I felt diminished by it. The labels from my foster records, the wounds from abandonment, and the challenges that came from a loss of identity were taking a toll. I told myself that I had nothing to say, nothing to give, and nothing to contribute to the world. That’s the work of important people, those folks who have it all together. This was my internal dialogue.
At the time, I didn’t understand that the thoughts I held about my story were stifling me. I believed that I was the only person in the world who was struggling to feel like I mattered. This belief isolated me. If I’m the only one who feels this way, then no one could possibly understand me.
The more I succumbed to this limiting belief, the more I sank deeper into isolation and depression. I didn’t have an abundance mindset. Mine was a mindset of depletion. I was running on empty. Surviving, but dreaming of thriving. My big, beautiful story was kept locked in the dark.
Then, I read somewhere that there is, “a person who is hungry for the story only you can give them.” It felt like the universe shifted as I read those words. Someone is hungry and I’m the only person who can feed them? I asked myself this question as I sat with the quote and read it, over and over again. How could my story—broken and imperfect—help another person satisfy their emotional hunger? And beyond this question, I was awakening to the fact that I wasn’t the only one needing nourishment in this life. I was part of a larger community and, suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone.
The truth is, sharing our stories, using our voices, giving, and contributing is not the work of perfect people. Those people don’t even exist. We are all broken, imperfect, and on a journey to heal and return to a place inside of us that feels like home. What makes our stories valuable are the hardships we’ve faced—the broken places through which we’ve walked—that have taught us wisdom impossible to gain without facing difficulty and pain. If allowed, this wisdom drives our passion and directs us toward what we’re here to do, which is to give.
What are the thoughts you hold about your life story? Is it too broken to share? Does your story make you feel inferior, ashamed, lesser than? Do you look at the mistakes and disappointments and see nothing of value there? If so, it may be time to decide again. This is a technique I use to shift my mindset from lack to plenty. This technique is about recognizing when our thoughts begin to vandalize our sense of value, and then to take action with three simple steps to turn those thoughts around.
- Notice the thoughts that you’re telling yourself about your story. How do these thoughts make you feel? Are these thoughts serving you? Do these thoughts fill you up and remind you of your potential and worth? If they don’t, then:
- Forgive yourself for having the thoughts and also forgive the thoughts, then:
- Decide again. Reach for another thought that is positive and affirming. Decide to choose the new thought over the old thought. Claim the new thought and send the old one on its way. Whatever purpose the old thought once served is no longer needed.
I can’t tell you how many times this decide again technique has brought me back to the truth of who I am. It has reminded me that I have the power to control my thoughts and to, with forgiveness and compassion, turn any negative thoughts into truth-filled empowering ones. My story doesn’t own me. I own my story. My big, beautiful story!
Is my story one of brokenness? Yes. Is it filled with resilience? Indeed. Is my story the stuff of greatness? Absolutely, because I have decided it will be. I remind people, daily, both in my personal and professional life to look for the miracle in the messiness of life. There’s not a person alive who hasn’t experienced a mess. What distinguishes one person from another is how we view those messy moments and how we decide to move through them and be better because of them.
The thing about deciding again is that you can use this powerful technique any second of any day. It’s a choice. You can choose the thoughts you want to spend your life with. If our lives are the sum of our thoughts, we must choose them wisely.
Look at your story. See the bigness and the beauty that’s written within the pages of your life. Then, live your big, beautiful story with boldness, integrity, and love. Share it! There is a person somewhere who is hungry for it.