My behaviour as a teenager was shy, quiet, passive and I didn’t like to be the centre of attention. I’d told myself (a story) that this was a result of being scared about what others would think of me as the fat girl.
My Immature Story
The story I’ve told of myself since those teenage years has been I suffer from a lack of confidence and self-belief.
When I’d get asked what my weaknesses were, in those job application forms and interviews, I’d always put “a lack of confidence in my own ability”, you know, just to reinforce this story even more.
I seem to have carried this story as an identity of mine for a very long time. Yet, it’s not true and I have done so many things that are in contradiction to this story. But my brain has been slow to catch up on what may have been true back then (or at least I told myself it was) and what is true now.
But what has happened and why is my brain still stuck in the dark ages of my life?
Well, I grew up… but my brain has taken a little longer to reach maturity.
Ann Betz in her blog post about this very topic, The Boxes we grow up in: Identity, development and the prefrontal cortex, explains this very nicely:
“These days we’ve all heard that the brain doesn’t fully develop until approximately the mid-twenties. What we’re referring to is the prefrontal cortex, the last part of the brain to come fully “online.” Known as the seat of executive function, this part of the brain is in charge of calibrating risk and reward, problem-solving, prioritizing, thinking ahead, long-term planning, emotional regulation, and the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes. (It’s not that these things aren’t possible before maturity, it’s just that it takes a lot more effort and isn’t very reliable.)”
It’s quite astonishing what our brain can keep falsely telling us despite the actual facts that are right in front of us. I can see how I have been blinded to something that has been a significant part of me for a long time but was masked by my own childhood story.
Personally, this is where being on the receiving end of coaching has been truly transformational. I was able to play with this story from the immature version of me and come to understand what my story is now ~ I am confident and I do have a lot of self-belief.
If I really didn’t have any self-confidence or belief I doubt I would have been able to skydive from a plane, enter numerous half marathons on my own, fly a helicopter, take part in a bikini fitness contest, leave full-time employment and became a self-employed personal trainer, then completed further training to become a life coach and many, many other things. If this isn’t a display of some confidence and belief then I don’t know what is.
Owning the new story…..
The power of being conscious to this is only going to enable me to now fully own this new story. I will be able to go to so many more possible places both in my personal and professional life, where my story of old would have cut me off from.
Old stories can sometimes be hard to pin down precisely. But by taking some time to be curious about your internal dialogue and even your dialogue with friends, family, work colleagues or whoever, you will most likely find a pattern or repeat of a story.
Dive into that story and see if you can work out where it’s come from. If it’s based on who we were as an adolescent or young adult, ask yourself whether there is any benefit to keeping hold of it or whether it is time to more on…..
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Bye for now,
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