How To Change Your Story
The first step in changing a limiting belief is identifying it.
Identifying my story about not being good enough was surprisingly difficult for me initially because I told myself that story for so long that I didn’t think of it as a story at all. I thought of it as true and that was, at its heart, quite ridiculous. It took a lot of thought before I even realised that this was the story I was telling myself.
What limiting story are you telling yourself?
Maybe it’s that you’ll never find love or that you’ll never earn over a certain amount of money. Maybe it’s that you are too shy to speak in public or that you are terrible at small talk. Maybe you think you’ll never make a living doing what you love or that you are not smart enough to succeed.
All of these things are stories. The difference between you and the people doing the thing that you’ve always wanted to do is the stories you tell yourselves. Changing that story is one of the most important steps to changing your life.
Shifting Your Story
Now that you’ve identified your story, you have to make a new one for yourself.
For me, it was simply deciding that I was just as good as anyone else and I deserved just as much as anyone else. It’s a really simple non-specific story, but it countered my previous limiting one. Think about your limiting story. How can you change that story to make it empowering?
Supporting a New Story
A new story in itself is not always enough. That story needs to be rooted in something. You have to believe it, and changing your beliefs can be the most difficult thing of all. When I decided to change my story about myself, I looked around at my life for evidence that the new story was true.
For example, I knew I had friends and family who loved me and certainly thought I was good enough to receive that love.
When I looked at my life objectively I realised that I’d actually accomplished quite a bit. I’d always done well in school. I’d written 3 books. I always went out of my way to be kind and helpful to others. These are all things that, in my eyes, made me just as good as anyone else.
As I started to look at my situation more, I realised that one of my core problems was “the anyone else” part of my story. I was comparing myself to others, and that will lead to unhappiness most of the time.
Instead of thinking of myself as just as good as anyone else, I started to change my story again to simply say that I am enough.
Can you find evidence around you that can support your new story?
Does looking at that evidence make you realise that you need to make any changes to your new story?
Emotions Are Key
Supporting your new story with facts will help you believe it, but what really anchors it into your life is associating it with positive emotions.
I started meditating every morning and every evening for twenty minutes. Once my meditation was over, before I got up, I’d visualise something that is connected to my new story. Because my story was so broad, that visualisation could include any number of things.
I’d imagine myself having relaxed conversations with people in social situations where I was contributing equally to the conversation.
I’d imagine myself working with lovely clients and giving them the result they wished for.
I’d imagine these things in great details. I’d really get into the visualisation and wouldn’t get up until I felt the joy that these activities would bring me deep inside.
I am a writer and am prone to imagination, so this was quite easy for me. We all have the capability to imagine, so give it a go and see what happens.
Nothing Happens Without Action
Sitting around visualising isn’t enough to make change happen in your life. I’m a strong believer in action. That’s where you really start to see the change happen.
Now that you have a new story about your life, you’ll be able to see opportunities in places you’ve never noticed them before. You’ll also have the courage to try things that you never did before.
I immediately started challenging myself. I started making a conscious effort to speak up in social situations and to express my opinion. I started to assert my needs more. I was able to see things in a more positive perspective.
I’m not saying that I am always successful. I most certainly am not. But "failing" 40% of the time is part of being innovative. Sometimes I fall back into old habits, but I remember that simply making the effort gets me a step closer to my goal than I was before.
Be Kind to Yourself
The physical circumstances around you won’t change overnight. You won’t change your story to being in a loving relationship and then suddenly have George Clooney knocking at the door. What will happen, though, is that you will recognise the opportunities that will get you there.
Don’t be angry with yourself or the universe if it doesn’t happen fast enough for you, or if you fail to make the changes you want all once. Taking small steps in the right direction every day will get you were you need to be. It’s important to be consistent.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall back into old habits. We are often our biggest critics. Just pick yourself up and start again. It’s the ability to continue moving forward that will get you to your goal.
Heather Prince is Founder of the Fearlessly Moving Forwards Method, 90 Day Online Program