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Ep. 172 Behind the Stories We Tell Ourselves

by Claudine Sweeney
March 16th 2023

Did anyone ever tell you that you are a great story teller? Well, guess what? You are. But, the stories we are talking about here may not be the stories you are thinking of. These are the stories t... More

You're listening to the Rise Up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So, tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise Up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners. Today, I'm going to start us off with a quote from Renee Brown. She says owning your story is the bravest thing you'll ever do. And today we are talking about stories. Actually, we're talking behind the stories. We've already done an episode. I believe it was 141 on stories and assumptions, but we're going to dig a little deeper today in the stories we tell ourselves. And another thing that Bernet says is that these stories, we've got to come to terms with the stories we tell ourselves because when they are false or wrong, they can be quite dangerous and hold you back from your higher purpose.

Of course, here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. We are all about learning how to rise up and shine, to live our best life and to really be our highest and best. So, so that is what we're talking about today behind the stories. Yeah, this is a very critical topic I would say and encourage you just to really listen to this episode and the tips and practical at the end of it because this is really life changing. I know it's been that way for both cutting and myself. And we've seen it with our clients and even friends and other people. We've shared this stuff with that. It is really life changing, you know, it is work. But realizing that we are always telling stories, always, it is part of our humanity to tell stories. So it's not like we're saying, okay, stop telling these stories. They're not factual or they might just based on your feelings, but just being aware of our, the stories and the narrative we have and really the purpose of storytelling is just to make sense of ourselves and make sense of the world around us.

And with storytelling, it's really formed or formulated by our past experiences, our opinions, our views of life of ourselves, um all of those things. And so, and really when all of those things are put together, it creates our belief system, right? And our belief system is a running program even subconsciously that is really driving our life and driving these stories that we tell Ourselves. Yeah. Yeah. And it's so true. I mean, our brains take in 40-50 bits of information consciously per second. That seemed like crazy too. I think there's constantly sights, smells, sounds all of that. Right. Our brains are constantly processing that and we gather little bits of information and try to find meaningful patterns in the world. And like you said, our belief system, our experiences, all of that. And these stories help shape how we see the world and how we see ourselves in it.

And it's interesting too because you and I were talking earlier and I think about the stories in so often we are the victims in our story. And other times we are the hero. And so, and that can serve us. And other times it can, I was talking with a woman this week who had something was going on with their child. And then the story they were telling myself is this is all my fault, which it was not. But the story was, this is my fault. My child is now suffering because of me and I'm a bad parent and all of that. And that was the story. And in it, it was almost like I'm the victim really. You know, it was a victim's story. Like I have no power, my child has no power, no one has power here. It's just happening to us but it's my fault. It's all my fault. And that was the story and it really the stories we believe about ourselves that we tell ourselves will impact like you said, our lives and how we experience life here on earth.

Again, when we think of our perspective, you know, driving these narratives, I know for so many years, I struggled with the stories I was telling even about myself and not being good enough at blank, right? Fill in the blank. Really ABC mom, sister, daughter, wife things. Um And so it was really causing so much angst in my life, anxiety, depression, it was not serving me. And so that's why we want to talk about our stories because we need to understand this is going on. We're probably at this point not aware. I know I wasn't fully aware that it was a story. They felt true. So I believe these things about myself. I remember Spa's specifically talking with another woman too and she would say I'm lazy, write these labels. We give ourselves whether that just came from our own brains or school or classmates or parents, but we will label ourselves.

And that is part of our story. And I would do that for so many years, but it was not allowing me to live my best life. I remember this was the point of frustration for me where I'm like God said to have life to the full and where's all these fruits of the spirit, all these things and peace. And patience and kindness and love and you know, all of these things, self control. But why was I not really fully experiencing abundant life that God designed for us? And really a big, I mean, this underlying factor was the stories. And so that's why this is so life changing because we need to be aware that if we don't know what we're saying to ourselves or the perspectives were holding and we really, or even the labels that we've given ourselves or others that it is the driving force of our life. And depending on how our well being will be and the stories are not just about ourselves, it can be what we tell ourselves about other people, right?

And that's why it's so damaging. Um You said something that was reminded me of something when you were talking about living life to the full and the fruits of the spirit. That's kind of where my life took a turn as well. I remember reading that and going my life is full, all right, but not of all the right things. It's not full of love and joy. And at that point, I realized that the story I had been telling myself for many years, even as a Christian for many years was that's all that is for other people. Other people get all the good stuff and I get the leftover, I get whats whatever I get the scraps, I get the, which is funny because I don't have anything in my past. But for some reason, somewhere along the line, that is the story I created for myself that all the good things are for other people. And I get whatever is left over. But that really abundant life, that life to the full of love and joy and peace, that's not mine. And when I started studying and getting certified as a coach and learning more about the brain and life and examining, like you said, having awareness, examining that this was a story I was telling myself, I started realizing this is not true.

Like why am I believing this story? It is a fairy tale and not a good one, not a happy one. Like this is not a happy fairy tale. And I decided to change my story and we'll talk a little bit more about that. But the good thing about stories when we have that awareness, it does give us insight into our subconscious so we can get in touch with what do we really fear and what do we really desire? Mm. Oh Those are good. Our fears and desires. I think we run on default way too often, especially as our lives are more complicated, right? With marriage, Children, career activity, schedule all the things that we can over complicate our lives in a sense where we are just out of touch, touch with our deep fears and our desires and our needs. I know I was for very long, a very low long time. And I was just thinking as you were sharing that one of the stories I would tell myself that I know many, many women believe this as well is that self care is selfish. That was a story I told myself.

And I know like I said, many women did and believe it, I really believe that it's wrong. Even I remember thinking when I was trying to develop healthy boundaries for my own well being emotionally and mentally, I remember really struggling with saying no to people when they asked for help. If I felt just too stretched and overwhelmed and I couldn't help someone. It felt so wrong for me to say no, I can't. I felt it was so selfish even if there were times where I felt like I needed to schedule in my downtime, you know, and it's like that's not a good enough reason for me to say, what was the story was the story. I must be available to everyone that is available to everyone. Yes. Yes. Yes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Exactly. But again, it, it was not serving me, it was not even serving them and our relationship. No, not in the long run. I mean, maybe temporarily, but also the driving force behind that like my belief system was that I need to do, do do for others to be important.

So that was when I was learning to peel back these layers, that story that was driving my Yes, yes, yes. Was I I need to feel worthy and I am only valuable and important if I do for you, whatever, you know, like I'm going to sacrifice everything, my well being my energy, my time, everything, you know, and to an unhealthy point, I want to really like definitely to an unhealthy standard and it was just more from fear rather than love, you know, but that story that I believe for so long and when I finally realized that I can challenge that story, that was the nice thing. Like I can challenge the narrative. You can challenge the narrative. If it is not serving you your relationships. If it is not beneficial, then challenge it, really study it, study it, become aware of it and think is this worth holding on to some of our stories are not worth holding onto? Those are great, great questions to ask ourselves.

And the truth of it is our stories help us make sense of the world. But at a certain point, it can help us get stuck. And that's what we're talking about. We want to work on the stories that are keeping us stuck, that keep us from rising and shine, that keep us from living that full life and that life filled with love, joy, and peace. Well, actually, we only have a couple practical today on getting behind the story. So why don't you start us off with number one. Well, as we've said a lot, this episode already, awareness, awareness, awareness, have some introspective, look within, try to notice your thoughts in certain situations. You know, I was thinking of one. If we can even break it down. For one example, let's say you or your spouse feel or tend to be the one to correct the Children. Yes. Your thought behind that might be the my spouse doesn't care from the one that's doing all of this. How come they're not pitching in or you know, maybe I had to correct my child on something and there's my spouse just chilling out on the couch, not helping me out or backing me up.

So the story we attached to that is that thought, right? Is the they must not care. I have to be the one to do this. I have to be the bad guy. And what is that going to create? What kind of feelings? What kind of emotions is that going to make you love your spouse more? Is it going to help you be like the best parent you can be? Are you going to feel good inside? I'm thinking you're not going to be filled with love, joy and peace more so, anger frustration and what you said to when I think about thoughts, I think those are a sentence in my head, right? I have a thought. It's a sentence in my head when I think about stories. It's those multiple sentences, right? It's many senses like you were saying, he doesn't kill. Yeah, it's like a paragraph and then as we go through situations, so that might be one situation and another one happens and we just keep building the story and we, what we are telling ourselves, we're believing, you know, so, and we've learned this even we're just choosing positivity and, you know, we've done an episode on that as well.

But what we choose to focus on is what we're going to believe. What we fill ourselves up with is what we're going to believe and hold on to. So just being aware of the story, we attached to things and again, with just curiosity, just notice, don't get down on yourself, don't judge yourself. Just notice when a situation happens. Notice what thoughts you're saying, you know what's coming up in your mind and just get curious, you know, that's the starting place. Yeah, I like that one. And it's such a great point because when we are conscious of our stories, we can choose to edit or rewrite the story and that will change our life experience. And that is practical number to edit or revise your story. We are all capable of doing rewrites of our story that I like it to edit, edit. You know, there's the home edit that show. Have you ever seen that? No. Okay. Well, it's like my fantasy. They come in containerized everything. So my, my fantasy of how everything in my life should be in a container.

Of course, when you've moved 28 times, it makes it really easy to move if everything is already in a container. But I love that we can edit our stories, we can rewrite them, we can ask ourselves like you said earlier. I mean, does this serve us and is the story and expression of our highest and best self? It's funny. I spent many years in victim mode. My story was I'm the victim. I'm the victim of my circumstance. I'm the victim of my husband and everything he chooses to say or do. I'm a victim of my children's behavior. I'm a victim of everything and everyone around me. And when I started getting conscious of these stories, I decided to rewrite it and edit and I'm like, wait a second. No, I'm actually the hero in my story, not the victim. And no one does that to me, either allow them to do it or choose to think thoughts and stories that perpetuate that. But I chose, I didn't want to be a victim anymore and I took all my power back and I think that is what happens when we decide to edit and revise our stories, we take our power back and we can create whatever we want to create.

It's kind fun. I've had a fun rewriting my story like, nope, nope, this is my new story and I'm sticking to that now. So edit or revise your story. And of course, as coaches, that's what we help women do is to examine their stories, to gain awareness to it and think of news stories. I mean, we're kind of like editors, but instead of booking our life editors, what story is creating, suffering or discomfort or keeping you stuck because a lot of women are stuck there just stuck and they don't know how to move forward. And I can assure you it's because of a story that's going on in their head. And I was thinking about this too. Just remember that it'll take time. It's not okay. I'm just going to change the story and it will be good. This is work, it's intentional, conscious work to practice this, to kind of build that muscle, you know, of challenging your story, recognizing your belief system that's at play all the time within these stories.

Um And then being able to choose, you know, your story, choose to edit, revise. What role do you want to be? We all have a role in our story, right? So are we the victim? Are we the hero? I'm thinking like was I ever the hero? But in my stories, however, like I like when you said take our power back because that was very critical for me and my health and healing journey of taking back the power and not putting blame on. Well, I am feeling this way because of this person and that person, how they're treating me and all the things. And so the story was that I was the victim. But I know we all desire to feel empowered. We all desire to have healthy well being and in control of our emotions and um desire to live an abundant life. You know, we love to experience more joy and peace and fulfillment in this world. And so, and that is possible. It really is. And so understanding that when we are challenging the narrative and we are choosing differently, that it takes time because we're rewiring, you know, we are rewiring the neural pathways that these stories that we've been playing for years and years and years have already developed, right?

You kind of think of you're going through a forest and there's already a clear path. Well, if I want to make a new path, it's not going to be the first time I trudged through the forest. Right. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I feel I'm a visual person too. So I think about it. You need to repetitive li keep going down to create that new pathway. And it's the same with our brain. We are rewiring, rewiring those neural pathways that have already been established. And so that's why it takes time. So have patience, have grace on yourself and just keep at it, you know, it'll get there. I just remember all that work that you and I have both done in their own lives and just how, how it it becomes easier and a little more second nature, you know, we can be more in tune with. I'm creating a story again. Okay. Kind of check yourself and let me, let me rewrite this one. This is not helping me, it's not serving me, let me choose differently. Right. When we've both had our own training in our own coaches.

So, yeah, I wouldn't be here if I didn't have my coaches helping me examine, explore my stories and help me edit and revise. And ultimately, we want everyone to have a happy ending in your story, right? And so there's going to need to be some edits and some revisions along the way. Absolutely. Okay. Everyone. So that concludes again, we just had a couple of practical zoos because it does take time. It does take effort and the consistency especially, but we are glad you tuned in with us today. We hope that this encouraged you. We hope that you got something out of it that you can practically apply to your life to help you rise up and shine and be your best and feel your best. And again, colliding and I are here as life coaches to help, sometimes we are not aware of our story and we might need, we might need some outside eyes to help us discover what that story is and that narrative we're telling ourselves and especially belief systems as well. Sometimes we need that extra set of eyes.

So we are here. Please reach out. You can find Claudine at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. And again, also, if you found this encouraging, please share with a friend as well. So thank you again for tuning in and we'll catch you next week. Alright, everyone. Thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rice. I've been Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who, you know, it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Ep. 172 Behind the Stories We Tell Ourselves
Ep. 172 Behind the Stories We Tell Ourselves
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