“I don’t test well” and other ridiculous things we say

Lately I have been doing a lot of work around negative self-talk and the energy I project to others through these things I say to and about myself. I’ve been studying how the energy amplifies based on our internal dialogue: how it turns into a feedback loop of people responding to your negative vibe, so you project negativity some more, and they don’t respond well to you some more, and everyone’s kind of living life at half mast because we’re all doing this to some degree.

These stories we tell ourselves are embedded in various levels of our psyche. Some are superficial and easy to get out, and some are less so. But once you notice yourself having one story in one area of your life, it’s hard not to see it in other places too. 

Many of us have issues around money and abundance. Believing we’re “not worthy of having all the resources we need” in life, or thinking that “riches equal evil”, or you can only make money in an office for an employer during the hours of 9 to 5… you’re “not the kind who could ever strike out on your own”

… these are just a few things we may tell ourselves about money. 

Whose story is this, anyway? Who fed you this line?

How crippling could that be to a person… the idea that money equals evil for example… as they try to make their way in the world? Can you imagine all the weird ways that would show up over the course of a person’s life?

A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with a pal of mine, and I was telling him about my week. I mentioned how I had to write a spec piece for a freelance gig I was trying for, and that “I don’t test well” so I had cleared my whole schedule for the day so I could focus only on writing the best 700 words possible. 

“Did you get it?”

“I did!”

“Then why’d you say you don’t test well? Sounds like you test great.”

You know, he’s right. He’d unearthed one of the ridiculous stories that I’ve been telling forever, just reiterating to anyone who cares to listen, that I’m a crappy test taker, but that’s really not an accurate statement. 

I do stress out about being tested, so I prepare as well as I can. I set the right conditions for my success, and then I go for it. Sometimes I don’t make it. I failed my driving test the first time. I’ve failed lots of tests, but I’ve also been successful in enough of them too, that I’m not totally sure where this “I don’t test well” bit comes from. But it’s definitely in there.

And I’m pretty sure I made that day harder on myself than I needed to, by continually pointing out to myself and to the universe at large, that “I don’t test well”. 

It’s not my story, I don’t know where it came from, and it’s not even true. So I’m not telling that story anymore. There are hundreds more stories just like this, in my own head and in yours too. 

This is the work I’ve been doing. I’m energetically zapping these ideas and stories, one by one. It’s a lot of time and effort, and it involves paying attention in areas where I’m normally quite unconscious, but it is having an effect. Physically I feel lighter. Mentally I feel clearer. Emotionally I feel more peaceful, less frantic. 

I’m starting to see opportunities where I had not before. The lack of self-doubt is one of the most noticeable effects. I don’t feel like Wonder Woman exactly; I just feel neutral. I obviously busted through something there… lack of opportunity in life, and self-doubt (“I don’t test well”) are things I carry everywhere with me, in many areas of my life. Maybe you do too. 

So I’ll take neutral for now, neutral is good. That’s just in the couple of weeks I’ve been doing this work. 

In the last 2 weeks I’ve gotten 3 new clients: one for every area of my business. Writing, Yoga, and Social Media. Did I attract them with that neutrality? Maybe these were opportunities that would have shown up anyway. But would I have seen them? I can think back on times in my life where opportunity had presented itself and I had not taken it. Was I feeding myself this ridiculous story about opportunity way back then? Or was this a different story altogether?

At the end of the day I guess very little of that matters. I’m here. You’re here. We’ve made it this far, so we’re alright, right? But we could be even better. The things we believe about ourselves may or may not be true, but I’m excited and heartened by the idea that a lot of mine are total crap that I can dispense with starting right now. 

We are not our past, and we are not the stories we tell ourselves. Got any ridiculous stories you could stand to dispense with? Get after it! I cannot recommend it highly enough, my friend.

*****

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