Is it Possible to Rewrite Your Story?
I’ve been thinking lots about the topic of reinvention lately, since it was the dossier in the June issue of, you guessed it, my favourite magazine, Psychologies Magazine. We also discussed the topic inside the Life Leap Club – a Facebook group for subscribers to the magazine. I cannot stress enough what a wonderful and supportive community it is and jam packed with such wise souls.
Anyway, I’m already getting a little off piste. What I wanted to share in this post is the idea that we can, at any point in our lives, rewrite our story.
The pre-teen years…
At the grand old age of 31 (very nearly 32) I think I’ve had quite a few reinventions already and it all began when I was 11 years old.
At junior school I was such a happy and silly child who loved making my friends laugh. I’d make up words and act like a clown in front of my close friends. I loved those days! Then things changed when my first big decision had to be made. Which school to go to in the seniors? Did I stay put at my current school, which I loved or did I go to the all girls grammar school?
All my friends were aiming to pass their 11 plus and go to grammar school so it was a no brainer. I couldn’t be left behind. The only issue was that I wasn’t what I call ‘naturally clever’. I knew I’d have to put in lots of hard work to pass the exam. I spent my whole holidays studying to pass those tests. I may not be a natural brain box like my sister but I know how to work bloody hard and I think that’s because I’ve always had to.
Anyway, flash forward a few months and I’d passed my 11 plus, much to my delight. It was a mix of being proud of myself and relieved that I would stay with my pals. The only issue was that suddenly silly little me was in a huge school (much bigger than the little school I’d been in since the age of 3) full of confident, clever girls. I found it all massively daunting and I only lasted a term before heading back to my old school.
This challenging little period as an 11 year old created a story in my head. I think I became really quite self conscious and insecure and perhaps, if I’m really honest, I felt like a failure and that I’d let people down. This stayed with me as my ‘story’ for quite a while and it reared it’s ugly head again several years later when I went away to boarding school for college. Again, I felt out of my depth but in a different way and the same feelings of insecurity came back.
Looking back on all this now, having done a lot of research and study into personal development, I find it fascinating how the stories we create can have such a profound impact on our lives and how our lives play out. It effects the decisions we make, the chances we take and the viewpoint from which we see the world.
When I went off to university I knew that I had to shake this story. I wasn’t going to allow myself to be the shy, insecure girl. I’m not saying this was me all of the time through those secondary school years, not at all, but I definitely had that tendency and the feeling that I wasn’t good enough.
I needed to find that little girl from junior school who was fun-loving and happy. There were definite glimpses of her over the secondary school years especially with certain people – a chosen few who I felt able to be ‘me’ around.
So at university I knew I had to rewrite this story and reinvent myself. Not into a new person but into a truer version of myself. I have always known, and do know now, that I am capable of a lot and have lots to give in all areas of life but the story I’d told myself since the age of 11 often overshadowed this.
Being more comfortable in my own skin and being able to be ‘me’ at uni attracted some fantastic people into my life and I had a wonderful three years making up for lost time. Living up in York also felt like an opportunity to really reinvent myself and start afresh. A change of location is an example of a practical step to take towards reinvention.
The reinvention continues…
For me, reinvention is something we have the opportunity for at any point in our lives. We get to choose. I believe we all have a story we tell ourselves. This can be so damaging and really hold us back.
All the insecurities that arose when I was 11 still crop up now. The important thing is to really notice when that pesky voice is whispering unhelpful things. I may be giving a presentation and the ‘I’m not good enough’ story comes flooding back. Identifying with this story and knowing I have the power to believe it or disprove it is so powerful. There are days when I get sucked into it again, just like you get sucked into your story. We all have one.
With each new new job, new career, new location, new relationship I’ve embraced the opportunity to reinvent myself. I’ve allowed that to happen. It’s almost like shedding a skin with each chapter I find myself in and as that happens I get closer and closer to my true self.
I have never felt more aligned than what I do at this point in my life and I know that feeling will get stronger, with a few twists and turns I’m sure.
What can you do to reinvent yourself?
Life gives us so many opportunities for reinvention. You have that opportunity right now in this very moment. Identifying that I have a story, and an unhelpful one at that, has allowed me to move towards a better me. One that is more self-assured, happy and free from the shackles of my story.
Could you rewrite your story, starting today? What will your new story be?
If you’re intrigued to find out what goes on inside the Psychologies Life Leap Club subscribe here. You’ll get a the new issue on your doorstep every month, free coaching in the Life Leap Club and the opportunity to connect with some wise and very wonderful people inside the Facebook group. I hope to see you there!