There’s a story running in our heads about why things happen the way they do. It seems that we all have these stories—it’s the way we process the world around us. Unfortunately, the narrator’s perspective (ahem, your perspective) may be a bit “off.” You may be unwittingly making false connections to the events in your life, which could be keeping you from living the life that, deep down, you really want.
Becoming aware of the false narrative playing in your mind is the first step to consciously redefining your life on your terms.
What is a False Narrative?
Okay, let me break this down for you mama. We all had crazy childhoods, right? Right. We all had some traumatic crap happen to us—divorce, latchkey kid syndrome, terrible car accidents, alcoholic parents, loss of a loved one, and the list goes on.
Well, when something BAD happened, we made a FALSE connection to the crappy thing that happened and OURSELVES. Like, if your parents got divorced and you assumed the blame or responsibility for it. When, obviously, it wasn’t your fault.
According to Dr. John Sharp, psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Insight Cure, this false narrative runs on a loop in our minds any time bad things happen.
In the TedX Talk by Dr. John Sharp (check it out below–definitely worth the 20 minutes!), he tells us that we typically have “one central false truth” that we adhere to when things get difficult. It’s usually the result of something that happened when we were young that made us create a conclusion in our minds about ourselves—but, it was false. Thus, the “false narrative.”
Predictability is Easier than Chaos
The BIG PROBLEM? That false connection you made as a kid follows you into adulthood more often than not. YIKES.
Sharp tells us that when that “bad” thing happened to us we basically tried to “self-soothe by taking on blame and responsibility because it is easier than accepting things aren’t in our control.”
And, this FALSE NARATIVE becomes our limiting story. This is the worst part. It becomes the thing we tell ourselves to keep us stuck and unhappy.
According to Matt James, PhD., “Your limiting decisions are hiding out in the areas where you’re producing results that you don’t want.” And he suggests, “Anything you say to yourself to justify why it isn’t working out for you is a limiting belief.”
Let me give you some common false narratives / limiting stories / limiting beliefs:
- I’m not _________ enough (fill in the blank: smart, capable, kind, thoughtful, etc.)
- I will fail
- No one will ever love me
- I will never do _________ (fill in the blank: lose weight, find a career I love, find a soul mate, etc.)
The limiting story (or false narrative) essentially becomes a security blanket and we hold tight to these ideas for dear life.
Well, it is way easier to believe the false narrative than to believe that everything going on is the result of things that are out of your control. These stories give us predictability even though they make us feel like crap. Plus, most of the time we don’t even realize we have these limiting stories (or false narratives).
Limiting Stories & Motherhood
Of course, we all have our own individual limiting stories that keep us stuck throughout our lives, but there are some that apply to motherhood that may seem all too familiar.
In this article, 8 Beliefs that are Holding you Back from Success, I was surprised at the limiting beliefs they noted—and how many of them I’ve had all my life, and that have come to a “peak” in motherhood.
- #1: I can do it all by myself without help
- #2: Everyone else has it figured out except for me
- #3: I don’t know what I want
- #4: I don’t have time
How many of these limiting beliefs do you tell yourself EVERY SINGLE day to keep you from going after the life that you want? Many of these things stop us in our tracks when it simply comes to making time for ourselves.
Think about that — a false connection that you made in childhood could be powerful enough to keep you from even making time for yourself TODAY.
Identifying the Security Blanket
As it turns out, you can ditch the old narrative and replace it. But first, as always, you’ve got to do a deep-dive to figure out what your limiting story (or your false narrative) actually is.
‘Cause here’s the crazy part—you may not even know what your limiting story is! Here’s a great article about how to figure out what story is keeping you from living your best life.
Head’s UP: I’ve had to battle my way through multiple false narratives like: I am not enough, I don’t need anyone’s help, and I don’t know what I want.
So, you may find yourself identifying with more than one bad apple, and that’s okay! The more you uncover, the more awareness you can bring to the table.
Once you’ve got that awareness, then you can start attacking those limiting beliefs from all fronts.
BS or Truth?
As children, we make all kind of wild connections that place us at the root of the bad things that happened to us. Unfortunately, those connections are so strong and so engrained that we have a hard time identifying them as BS.
Unearthing those BS storylines running on repeat in our head every time something crappy happens to you, and dragging them out into the light, is the first step towards REVISING your story.
It takes some serious honesty, and it takes some objective perspective.
So, basically, it’s not easy work…but the payoff could mean breaking free of the untrue, limiting, weighted roadblocks that keep you from going after that life you WISH you were living.
What limiting stories do you have on repeat?