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One Little Word Update: August 2021

It’s the 4th Tuesday of the month and that means it’s time to join up with Carolyn and share how I’m doing with my 2021 One Little Word: Create.

This month in the Ali Edward’s class was all about identifying and considering the stories we tell ourselves. The concept stems from the work of Brené Brown, mostly in Rising Strong, but she also talks about this in her TED talk and in other books, too. The idea is that our brains are wired to protect us and often that first line of defense against any sort of attack is our brain making up a story about why something is happening. It could be as simple as wondering why your friend didn’t text you back or as complex as wondering why your father got sick with cancer and didn’t reach out to you before he died.

You may recall that story was my One Little Word a couple of years ago so this prompt was right up my alley. I’ve thought a lot about my story, how I want to shape the story of my life, and how I want to react to the things that impact my story. I’ve learned that I will probably always have a tendency to catastrophize something, but I’ve also learned to recognize when I’m doing it. I’ve learned that the stories I tell myself have a common theme, and it is that I’m not worthy. Not worthy of love, friendship, money, attention, good experiences . . . you name it, I’ve decided I’m not worthy of it.

Here’s a recent example that might help illustrate this. In order to travel to Iceland, we all had to have a COVID test with a negative result less than 3 days prior to the flight. I was convinced that I would be the only one who would test positive and then I would miss my daughter’s wedding. I was also convinced that this was my punishment for not being 100% on-board with the Iceland wedding plan from the beginning. I was so stressed out about this test and the outcome and I finally mentioned it to Hannah a day or so before we were getting tested and she said to me, “Mom. If you test positive we will postpone.” I was so relieved and completely verklempt that it mattered so much to Hannah and Mikey to have me there . . . and Hannah on the other hand, couldn’t understand how I could have ever thought they’d go ahead without me. Hell of a story I told myself, huh?

I think my word, create, is perfect for this prompt, because I can use it to remind myself to not create those sorts of stories. To not create a spiral of doom, to not doubt my worth to the people in my life. The story I want to tell myself, the story I want to create, is that I am good and worthy, that I bring joy to those in my life, that I make the world a better place.

As the saying goes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Being your own worse enemy is something I get. Not being that is just so damned hard. Sending you so much love, my friend… you are so deserving of so much more than you can ever imagine.

  2. Wow–what a moving month. Sounds like you know exactly the story you want to create. And it also sounds like the story so many others already tell about you.

  3. I identify with this so much, Carole! I almost always catastrophize when I’m worried about something and jump immediately to the worst-possible outcome. I reread a book last summer on resilience and being more resilient in thinking, and one lesson that’s stuck with me is to challenge this kind of thinking by contrasting it with coming up with the most amazing, most perfect possible outcome. When you do that, you realize that both outcomes are equally ridiculous and that the reality of what will happen is likely somewhere in the middle.

    In any case, OF COURSE Hannah would’ve postponed her wedding if you’d tested positive! I know she wouldn’t have wanted to have her big day without her mama there beside her!

  4. I wonder if not feeling worthy is a trait that many women have in common? I understand where you’re coming from, and when a friend told me several years ago that I didn’t have to earn or be deserving of affection, that all humans are worthy, it was kind of a revelation. You are worthy, and I’m glad that’s the story you are creating.

  5. (Oh, the stories we tell ourselves.)
    I’m so glad you’re continuing to delve into your stories, Carole. This is such important “inner-work” — and so hard to do. And not one-and-done, quick-work either! Bravo to you for CREATING the environment to help you dig deep and challenge those familiar, old stories . . . and bring them up into the light. XOXO

  6. Acknowledging that your response is not helpful or true is the hardest part! So a lot of the work is already done. I hope your continuing “work” on these issues allows you to create the life that you want and deserve. Of course you are worthy! Say it out loud every day.

  7. I completely identify with your story today. I guess it comes from being a child of divorce, and a child of narcissistic parents. So hard to change that story. I’m working at it along with you every day. Thank the cosmos for our loving children. We certainly did something right?

  8. Of course you are good and worthy! Several years ago my sister reminded me that I didn’t have to earn another person’s love or friendship and it was a revelation for me. Why do we put ourselves down? I continue to work on my story and I wish you the best as you work on yours!

  9. I love the connection with two of your words … and that you are seeing new (true) stories about yourself. My church has been hosting a seminar about “Story Companions” and we’re learning how the stories we tell ourselves and each other can be transformed by us and by those we invite to share our stories. It’s so powerful to understand that so much of what we think we “know” about ourselves are just not true (and of course you ARE worthy and loved!). Someone else could have the same dots, connect them differently, and tell a different story.

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