Owning our Stories and Loving Ourselves

what's your story- (2)

Owning our stories and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do. More importantly, it frees us to write a new ending….

We are hard-wired for story; it’s built into our survival DNA. It’s the way we make meaning of the world around us.

The stories we tell ourselves have the power to motivate us, transform us and move us to action OR they can limit us, undermine us and close us off to potentials and possibilities.

The stories we tell ourselves are the result of the thousands of interactions and experiences we have had and become the lens through which we interpret the world around us.

The problem is – our “lens” can cloud our interpretation of new events and experiences as they arise. In other words-because our primitive brain is a survival mechanism – its primary objective is to keep us safe, which can skew our interpretation of events and people around us. Our primitive brain sees the outside world as dangerous and people and differences as the enemy, which limits us to new viewpoints and possibilities. Our brain is wired to look for problems and gives “extra-credit” for negative stimuli, and that can lead to misinterpretation.

For example, if we see everyone at work as a potential threat to our safety, we might miss the opportunity to learn something new from them – to consider an alternative reality, a new angle, or another way to view things.

I see this all the time in my work with couples. Each partner becomes so locked into their own story of betrayal or disappointment that they miss the chance to see with compassionate eyes the struggle their partner is going through. They might be convinced that their partner’s over-working is the result of not caring about them when in reality it is driven by the fear that they won’t be able to provide the lifestyle they imagine is expected of them. Or they assume their partner’s lack of interest in sexual intimacy is a result of their interest in someone else- when in reality it is a result of feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands and pressures and more importantly, feeling unappreciated.

Often, in working with individuals, it becomes clear that the stories they tell themselves have limited their ability to achieve their goals. Their “view of self” is inaccurate and over-focused on their inadequacies. Or their fear of failure limits their ability to risk applying for that new job or starting the business they have always wanted to open.

According to Jim Lehr, Director of the Human Performance Institute, “Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And yet,far too many of our stories are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing.”

What stories do you tell yourself that hold you back from living the life you dreamed of?

In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes:

“Owning our stories and loving ourselves in the midst of them is the bravest thing you will ever do”

…and further it allows us to write a new ending. When we are willing to take a risk, or look at the part we played in our failures or disappointments to setbacks, we are provided the opportunity to write a new chapter. When we fall victim to letting others define us or our past mistakes determine the course of our future – we miss the chance to create a more powerful reality.

Reflection Questions

  1. What is the gap between your “VISION STORY FOR 2016 and where are you now?
  2. What are the chapters you need to work on to create a new future ending for living the life you desire???
  3. What stories do you need to quit telling yourself to accomplish your goals and dreams??

IF you’d like to write a new story for yourself in the New Year join me for my new Living Brave Programs in 2016!

Here’s to new beginnings and bold endings!!



Meet Cynthia Benge

A therapist for over 20 years, I guide people from their own “stuck” places to a life full of adventure, meaning and satisfying relationships.

Connect with me: