what is the story you tell yourself about your life? how does it go? do you hear it all day long? or just every so often, when you stop and tune in to your soul?
is it an old story, one you have carried since childhood? from before you even knew the words to tell it? or is it a new story, one you have reinvented and refined? how has it evolved through the seasons of your life?
what words do you use? are they your own or someone else’s? what does your voice sound like? are you harsh and critical? or are you forgiving and kind? are you screaming and crying? are you begging and pleading? or are you accepting and open?
is your lens black and white? always and never? too much and not enough? perfect or broken? win or lose? everyone else and never you? or are you living somewhere in between, drifting through the shades of gray?
do you put yourself down? beat yourself up? shame yourself for being imperfect? are you left with the feeling that your best isn’t enough? or do you celebrate your victories, no matter how small? do you lift yourself up? can you rest in the acknowledgement of how far you have come? can you tell yourself a story of progress and not perfection?
how do you relate to pain? do you tell yourself it’s always your fault? or is someone else to blame? do you know, way down deep inside, that you can live through it? that you have done it before and you can do it again? do you believe that pain ebbs and flows and ends, transforming itself into hope?
do you tell yourself that you are a person with depression or are you your diagnosis? are you depression? or bipolar disorder? or anxiety? or schizophrenia? are you separate from your mental illness? or can you coexist? do you choose to hide or choose to share? does it make you weak or weird or damaged or different? or does having a mental illness make you stronger and braver and more beautiful?
what do you say about life’s ugliest moments? about loss and grief and violation and darkness? when you look in the mirror of your heart do you see a victim or a survivor? or both? are you running from the pain or are you stuck in it? have you made peace with yourself? do you think you deserve it? tell me, do you think that you deserve peace?
did you know that you write your own story? did you know that you can rewrite it, again and again and again?
because the story you tell yourself matters. you can’t change the past but you can change what you tell yourself about it. slowly, slowly over time. choose a new lens. pick different words. eliminate shame from your vocabulary. strive for a love for yourself and love for others. transform guilt into compassion. inhabit new spaces – between what has been and what could be. ask new questions and live into new answers. allow yourself to heal. let yourself win and believe that you deserve it. become your own hero. find your bravery, find your strength, find your own self worth. they are there, shining like diamonds in the rubble and ruin.
what is the story you tell yourself about your life? how does it go?