Have you ever recalled a story from childhood only to find out from your family that it didn’t really happen that way?  I have plenty: for example, thinking my parents had taken me to the Nutcracker ballet every year when in fact I just watched it a million times on the VCR (yes, I said VCR) when I was really sick with the flu one winter?  Or the one about testifying at the courthouse trial for the neighborhood dog that had killed my cat (it was actually a zoning meeting about a dog kennel nearby and I certainly didn’t speak at it, I was five or six years old).

Or the story I told myself for years that I was just too tall for handstands, that I just had too much legs to get up.  Maybe you’ve told yourself even scarier stories, that that awful thing that happened was your fault, that you somehow deserved it.  Or that you’re not smart enough to do X, or whatever.  We all tell ourselves these stories.

One of the things yoga has taught me is that these are just stories.  Think of the stories from childhood, and how your mind innocently remembered things differently than they really were.  As it turns out, I’m not too tall to do handstands.  I do them quite well, thank you, once I got over my fears and actually kicked instead of half-kicking while mentally freaking out about falling on my face.

The trick is to see these as what they are: stories.  Everything we observe and recall is a product of our own filters, biases and views.  That doesn’t make them true.  Sadly, failing to recognize them as just stories versus “truth” is what affects our lives: these stories become self-fulfilling, where we hold ourselves back from our full potential.

My invitation to you this week: challenge something you think of as “true” – what makes it true, versus a story you told yourself?  Can you become aware of the filters you use, and identify and release a story you no longer have to hold yourself to?

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