Imagine a young single mom, raising three kids on her own. She has a job that pays just enough to keep a roof over their heads and some food on the table. If her parents didn’t help her, the kids would be going to school in clothes too small and worn-out shoes.
This young mom, working so hard to raise three kids is a story of struggle. Many days would go by, and she would be thinking, “I don’t understand how this could have happened to me, or “how hard it was to work and still be there for my kids”. How tired she was, and money so scares. Then one day during a conversation with a friend her thinking began to shift. Her friend reminded her of how determined she had been as a student to raise her GPA, along with pointing out some of this mom’s other challenges she had overcome, things she had totally forgotten. Something had happened in that conversation that has allowed this mom to change the narrative of her story.
From birth to this present moment, her brain has been busy trying to make sense of the world around her. As an adult she had developed a self-concept that she was comfortable with. Whenever she would try to step out of what was familiar to her, all sorts of alarms would start to go off in her head. She thought about getting another job or maybe even going back to school. But not being aware of what was happening inside her brain, she would step right back into the familiar and the negativity of her story. Thoughts like, I could never do that, I am not smart enough, they will laugh at me, became so loud that is all she could hear. Her self-talk was all about beating herself up, making the situation her fault.
The truth is life happens to all of us and during those times of challenge we can become victims or victors. Just because we have a thought doesn’t make it true.
When her friend showed up that day this young mom was all but defeated. Having someone else recall with her some victories that had happened in the past it helped refocus the attention from what she couldn’t do to what might be possible if she would only try. This mom could begin to see how she was so focused on what she didn’t have it made it impossible for her to see what she did have and what resources where available to her. That’s what her friend did for her, by giving her a positive version of who she was. It helped this mother to feel empowered to do something else other than just accept the situation for what it was. She made the decision that her and her kids were more important than the present situation and went to her boss asking for a raise. That raise was the starting point for many more opportunities to come her way. Fast forward to today and this woman has had 2 successful careers and enjoys her life to the fullest.
In sharing this story with you today there is one main principle I would like to point out. Just because we think a thought, it doesn’t make it true. We have the ability to control our thoughts and not have to let our thoughts control us. We can choose to let our mind chatter take over or decide to face our challenges and change our thoughts to rewrite our own stories over and over again. Our brains are powerful and when we open ourselves up to change, we become the hero we that we were looking for.
I believe that my in sharing this story with you, become more aware of the stories that is being written with your thoughts, and maybe just maybe be brave enough to see if that is something you might want to change.
Here is a secret… that young mom is me!!