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September 20, 2012

Does Your Story Empower You?


 by Kim Jackson of PeaceLoveandPrettyThings
Retelling a self-defeating story. – If we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not. So the question is: Does your story empower you? Don’t place your mistakes on your mind, their weight may crush your current potential. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view the horizon. Remember, all things are difficult before they are easy. What matters the most is what you start doing now.” (source)

I’ve realized that I don’t always tell the best stories about myself. In fact, I have a habit of retelling one self-defeating story in particular.

I’m a single parent. And as such, I struggle with a great deal of guilt for not bringing my son into a two-parent home, the way I always thought my children would be raised—the way I was raised. I tell myself that I should feel guilt for struggling financially and not providing enough of the “extras” I thought he “should” have {I was in my senior year of college when he was born}. I tell myself that not being fully self-actualized or self-aware in my 20s is a reason to feel ashamed {and really, how many of us know it all at that point in our lives? Or even in our 30s?!}. I often feel guilt for not having been able to be at home with him when he was younger, not having been able to leave my full time job to volunteer at his school, for feeding him fast food on nights when I was too tired to cook. In a nutshell, I’ve drafted this entire story about all the things I wish I had done differently where I paint myself in such a negative light that it's still surprising even to me sometimes.

The problem with this line of thinking is that none of what has already happened can be changed. I’ve grown and learned so much from those difficult lessons. And I need to tell myself a story that is empowering as opposed to one that is defeating and leaves me guilt-ridden and sad.

The result of all the dedication I poured into parenting--despite how I arrived at being a parent--and all the love I poured into my young man is this: he is a happy, well-adjusted, responsible, academically excellent athlete with major plans for the future. My job isn’t done yet, but all that I have been able to do with the time and resources I had then, and have now, are paying off. I am actually a pretty great mother. And that’s what I need to tell myself again and again.

In what area of your life might you be telling a self-defeating story? In what ways are you beating yourself up for past decisions, instead of treating yourself with love and recognizing that even through those mistakes, you’ve learned valuable lessons?

*image source


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PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

12 Chime in!:

cecily malone said...

Bravo! I love this article.It wasnt until recently i embraced whom i really was, i began to realize that i was performing trying to live the way others was telling who i was. After my divorce 3 years ago i went through the self- examination period "the where do i go from here?', "how can i do this alone?" and "what now?". Now after much prayer and guidance, I love my new independence and love how my life experiences is continually shaping me into the woman God has for me to be with prayer and letting Him lead me daily.

Sweetdrk1 said...

Step on my toes each and every Thurdsay. I AM *shaking my head in agreement* Love this series!! Thanks!

Davina916 said...

Good story!

Whitney said...

This was a great post, I often go over my own story and question myself. I love when I read things like this post that give you gentle reminders on things we let take a hold of us. God's gentle way of talking to us.

Cynthia said...

"If we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not."
This is so true... I have to re-write, edit, and write new stories to myself. Everything is a lesson but I always seem to be my worst critique. Love this article, it helps me step back and really think about it.

CurvyCurly said...

Excellent article! This is the type of empowerming boost many of us can use from time to time. You DO better when you KNOW better; it's call maturing. IMO, when your child grows up happy, responsible, respectful, and educated with goals and aspirations then you should accept the fact that you did well despite what you think about yourself.

CurvyCurly said...

Thanks for sharing and I pray for your continued strength and guidance.

Gwenn4ya said...

Awesome article. I know that I am guilty of telling myself several self-defeating stories. Sometimes I catch myself and prevent it, but I had the same story you did. Feeling guilty of not bringing my children up in a two parent home. I prayed that it would change and it did. I am a product of "your sins are ever before you". I now know (in my mid 30s) what that truly means. But (Im my preaching voice), how many of us know that it will be alright! I agree with CurvyCurly...when you know better, you DO better! I am always quoting that phrase! What we learn now, no matter what age, can only make you stronger and I would like to think it is because you went through that you were able to help another. Great article and don't worry, you are not alone and I pray that you continue to KNOW better as with the rest of us!

cecily malone said...

thanks & God bless you

Derika said...

I love this article! I would tell a self-defeating story about my education. Before I became pregnant my senior year of college, I was a speech pathology major. Once I became pregnant, my husband accepted a job in another city for better money causing us to move and causing me to transfer schools. I became a stay at home mom because I couldn't find a job that would allow me to afford daycare while I went to school. My best option was to stay home and raise my son while changing my major to general studies and finishing online at the new school. I was embarrassed at first to tell people that I changed my major from speech pathology to general studies. I graduated in July with my bachelor's in General Studies and I am no longer ashamed. I'm so proud that I was able to finish school while raising a toddler. Life may not be what I expected it to be but it's actually better than the way I would've planned it. God has better plans for us than we have for ourselves. God has been good to my family! :-)

Shashou said...

I am learning that everything is connected. And reflecting on the past as to still live there I've found has not been healthy. Learning to make decisions and living with my choices. Learning from the past and moving on.

Jacky said...

Wow,what a lovely post.You're right about retelling your story in the right and inspiring way and like it's written in the first paragraph,we should use our mistakes and wrongs as a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block to ensure a brighter,better and happier future.Thanks for the article,God really blessed you with wisdom and experience and thanks for sharing this gift with others.You're SUPERB.

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