creativity

In the pause: The narratives we tell ourselves

“You have gorgeous skin.”

That’s what a woman at a networking event said to me last night. I would have dismissed the comment except for the fact that she followed up that statement with her business card. She’s the Secretary General for the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists. She knows skin.

I’ve always been very self-conscious about my skin. When I was in my early 20s, I developed horrible acne due to extreme chronic stress and it left some scarring on one side of my face. I still think of myself that way even though that time is nearly 20 years in my review mirror. I am constantly examining my face for flaws out of habit.

This woman’s comment reminded me that we often tell ourselves outdated narratives about who we are based upon our past experiences and circumstances that no longer apply. I carry around a number of these stigmas, none of which are true anymore but they’ve created such a deep groove in my brain that it’s hard to let go of them. Like a car that’s stuck in the mud, I keep spinning those same wheels to no avail when what I really to do is get out of the damn car and leave the mud behind once and for all.

Recently, I’ve been telling myself new narratives about strength, resilience, and courage to replace the ones about weakness, inadequacy, and fear. It’s going to take some time to erase the old patterns but with a little TLC and a hefty dose of patience I think I can turn it around. If you’re battling these same types of demons now, let’s build each other up. Face it—this world needs all of us at our best and the only way we’re going to get there is by raising up one another. With me?

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