The Stories I Tell Myself

I’m the queen of overthinking. No wait, what’s a higher title than that? That’s what I am. (I just proved my point). I have a strong inner monologue that’s always at work. Sometimes it’s full of the sassy (borderline rude) things I shouldn’t say. Sometimes it’s full of my insecurities (that I’ve worked hard to overcome or at least quiet over the years). Sometimes it’s full of stories I create: to make myself feel better, to give excuse to the actions of myself or others, to try and make sense of what is going on around me, and yes—to create inner struggle and worry.

Brené Brown talks a lot about vulnerability (thanks to her it’s one of the ways I try and lead my life). A part of that is being honest and raw when you are creating untruths in your own mind. She encourages folks to start statements with “the story I’m telling myself is…” because even if it isn’t what is actually happening, it’s a real way to express and have others understand your point of view and perception of what is happening. This is something I greatly need in my life, and I’ve been trying to make an active part of my inner dialogue (and sometimes even a part of my external dialogue). Because I can lower my worry and anxiety when I realize I am making up scenarios that are not true.

  • The story I’m telling myself is that I’m a bad person for not visiting my aunt in rehab.
  • The story I’m telling myself is that I’m lazy because I need to take a nap today everyday.
  • The story I’m telling myself is my friends don’t like me because they aren’t calling me.
  • The story I’m telling myself is that I did something wrong because they can’t be telling the truth when they tell me the boundaries they need.
  • The story I’m telling myself is I’m not good enough.

The list goes on and on and on. But recognizing these “stories” I’ve created manufactured is the first step in being able to disprove them and move forward. It is vulnerable to admit this is how I feel. But it is empower to realize they don’t hold much (if any) weight. And that I can dispel and eradicate these stories. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes courage. We are all works in progress and none of us is perfect. But I’m trying to do better, and that’s not just a story I’m telling myself.

Much too Much

Hey, there. It’s been a while. I’ve found myself over the last (gulp) two months starting a blog, writing a paragraph, putting it aside, the world changes, and then I scrap it. There has been so much flux and change. I’m not sure I’ve followed along very gracefully but regardless I’ve given myself grace to keep going: day by day, slow and steady. This morning I got the tug to put a few things down in written form and here we are friends, a new post. My writing is cathartic, and my brain and heart are telling me I’ve spent too long away, so perhaps this will become somewhat regular again. Whatever feels right in the moment.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life being told in some form or fashion that I’m too much. I care too much. I’m too loud. I am overly helpful. I’m too emotional…the list goes on and on. It’s one of my biggest insecurities, though I’ve worked to quiet it and push past it. Generally it doesn’t rear its ugly head all that often anymore—but certain things can set it off. My old self would fall over herself apologizing when my “muchness” was pointed out. It became common place for me to notice it before anyone else, and immediate express regret. It wasn’t a good look. And it took work and time to get away from that mind set. But I’m better, stronger, and wiser today because of it.

One of my favorite parts of Alice in Wonderland (or maybe it’s Alice Through the Looking Glass) is the discussion of her “muchness”. I love the concept and the positive narrative it portrays for imaginative kids, those who feel and sense the world around them in multiple forms; the dreamers, the seers, the creatives, those who society sees as emotionally or spiritually other. I have a heightened “muchness”. It’s big, and often times in professional (and even personal) venues I keep it close to the vest. But I also use it to my advantage. And I remember it’s a part of what makes me me. It’s part of what I have to offer to the world.

A couple times in the last few weeks my insecurities have come out. “What if I’m doing too much?” “Is this annoying?” “What are they going to think?” “Am I making this worse?” “Well dang, I’m a lot…” It’s natural, I suppose, to fall back into old patterns and bad behaviors every so often. And it makes sense that this is happening now. I’m thankful for a friend who reminds me of the gifts I have to offer to the world, that I am my best representative. I’m thankful for the reminder by another that if I’m just myself, I can’t eff it up. Whatever “it” may be. It can be difficult, even so. But I’m leading with vulnerability, and grace, and grit, and love.

One inspirational “teacher” I follow on IG is Sylvester McNutt III. Parts of his work really resonates with me. And parts I could easily walk away from, it can be a little “woo woo” at points. The below quote he posted the other day has really stuck with me. A reminder. A mantra.

No one is required to understand you. No one is required to accept you. You don’t need to change in order to fit into someone else’s (or society’s) boxes. Be you. Unapologetically you. The people who are supposed to surround you and be a part of your life will show up. If something is meant to be, it will be. You are unique, and interesting, and have so much positive within you. It may feel like too much for some, do not let that quiet yourself. Do not let the world’s aversion to color make you dull the way you paint your life. Be you; fearlessly, vulnerably; completely. People may not appreciate it—do it anyway. People may not stick around—do it anyway.

Seek to never lose your “muchness”.