Self care is more than a hot bath; it’s taking care of your body, brain and soul; It’s making sure that you’re living the life that you truly desire and that you are doing it with good health and feeling comfortable in your skin.

Often without realising it, we create stories around who we think we are and where our life is going. These stories can give you comfort, a reason why things should stay as they are, but they can also prevent you from living a fulfilling life.

Are your stories trapping you or holding you back? Are they based on an ancient human brain and it’s fear or are they based on fact?

The first step to finding out is to become mindful about what you think and say. For example, I’d spent years saying “I can’t dance, I’m too self-conscious and have no rhythm”. However, my life took a steep turn and knowing that something had to change, I plucked up the courage and attended a class. Seven years later, I now spend every spare minute training in workshops, spinning on the dance floor at a party or planning my next event. I hear stories like mine every day, limitations that people put on themselves without even realising. If you keep telling yourself a story, in the end, you’re going to believe it.

These stories often manifest themselves in defensive statements that we make about ourselves. Here are some that you could watch out for:

Image courtesy of Julia Caesar

“I can’t do it”
How often do you hear this or even think it yourself?
I can’t go up in my career. I can’t go to that class. I can’t lose weight. What would happen if every time we thought this, we asked: “How can I do it?” Tony Robbins says that it is not a lack of resources that holds us back but a lack of resourcefulness. Listen out for the times that you say “I can’t” and then ask what prompted that statement; Fact? Fear? Limiting beliefs?

“I can’t afford it”
I spent my life saying this, until once while listening to a podcast, I heard the words “How can I afford it?” This doesn’t mean get a credit card or dive into debt! It means to look at what you want, what you have, what you spend and figure it out. A few years ago I saw a big seminar advertised and I was desperate to attend, but as soon as I saw the price, it was immediately out of the question! It played on my mind though how much I’d learn and gain from the seminar, and then I said “I’m going to give myself one month to find £800”, and that’s exactly what I did! I found jewellery that I no longer wanted, I sold items I didn’t want, I cut back my spending, and without getting into debt, I attended my seminar, and it changed my life!

“I always screw up”
Fear of failure is in all of us at some point, but with training, that mindset can change. When I first meet a new student, I tell them that I love failure, I love mistakes and problems! I tell them, truthfully, that it is only through failure that we learn, step up and take it to the next level. It is through ‘screwing up’ that we remember and gain a deeper understanding. Instead of fearing mistakes, try asking yourself “What have I learnt and how has it added to my character?”

Image courtesy of Almos Bechtold

 “People will always hurt me.”
I’ve told myself this time and time again. Friendships and relationships are always changing, sometimes growing stronger other times not. Allowing the walls to come down and letting people in, does sometimes result in pain. It is a fact of life! When an important relationship breaks down, it is easy to believe that all of our relationships have broken down and that nobody can be trusted. Words like “Everyone hates me!” form in front of our eyes when in fact, we are only focusing on the one that ended and not all of the friendships that are still great! The story that everyone will hurt you is dangerous; it stops us connecting and forming close bonds. Maybe those are the times that we should ask “How many people have loved me and treated me well?”

“It’ll never change”
What will never change? Finances? Waistline? Happiness? Stress? Are you basing your statement on fact? If there is a change that you want to make, don’t let your mind or your story hold you back! Step out of your normal environment, walk in the park or sit on the beach and write down the changes that you want to make and then ask “How can I make it change?”

Image courtesy of Angelo Pantazis

Stories are embedded into our thoughts every day, it’s natural human behaviour, but it is enlightening to listen to the stories that you have and to discover if your stories help you or hold you back.

I challenge you to find out! Get in touch and let me know what you found. Email [email protected]

Cover image courtesy of Darius Bashar