The stories we are told have an effect

I’m in the minority of people my age, I don’t have any kids. I’ve never had to rear them, house train them or release them into the wild (but in case you didn’t notice, I have had a fair amount of experience with animals…)

Despite this lack of experience with kids, I do know that the things they are told and the stories they hear play a big part on their development. I know it’s wrong to keep saying to them, things like:

  • You are not able to do that…
  • You aren’t good enough for that…
  • You will never be able to do that when you grown up, you aren’t good enough…
  • You will just fail if you try that, don’t embarrass yourself trying…

Hearing things like that time and again stifles their confidence, their development and it is likely to become a self fulfilling prophecy. If you tell a kid they are a failure enough times, they believe it and it’s likely to become true.

Instead, we tell the kids that yes, if they work hard, they can become an astronaut/scientist/prime minister/brain surgeon or whatever.

I think we can all agree that stunting the ambitions and development of a kid is not a good move. In fact, doing it to an adult is just as bad! Keep telling your colleague in work they are useless, a failure, are rubbish at their job and will never succeed and see if they ever achieve anything.

So here is the question…if it’s wrong to repeatedly say things like this to both children and adults…why do we think we can get away with always saying it to ourselves?

I’ve heard clients say things like:

  • I’m not strong, I’ll never be able to lift it…
  • I’m not fit, I’ll never be able to last that long…
  • I’ll never be able to lose the weight, I’m too weak willed, I have no willpower…

If every day, we hear stories like that being told about us, it’s no surprise after a while we start to believe them. It doesn’t matter if those stories come from a parent, a bully in school, a co-worker, a boss or ourselves.

Maybe it’s time to hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others to. The stories we tell ourselves make a big difference to what we can achieve. We hear the stories we tell ourselves each and every day. Lets make sure they don’t sound like the stories we heard from the school bully, or that terrible boss we had…

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