I don’t need anyone.

This was the vow I made to myself as a little girl. I was probably six or seven. To be honest, the details of the memory aren’t that clear, but the message I gave myself was.

This girl will not depend on anyone.

We were at an outdoor event and I had to use the toilet. My parents pointed out the Johnny-on-the-spot, but I didn’t want to go alone. I wanted someone to hold my hand and go with me.

I remember feeling teased and razzed that someone needed to hold my hand to go to the bathroom, and to combat the shame I felt, I made a vow to toughen up.

Screw that. I don’t need anyone.

Now, I am a parent. I know that what I say and what my kids hear aren’t always one in the same. So I have no blame or hard feelings toward my parents – I LOVE THEM. This was MY interpretation in the past. And it still affected me in the present.

This story I told myself served me in a lot of ways. For one, I became independent. For two, I didn’t give my emotions to others and expect them to care for them; I was responsible for myself and how I felt! And three, it gave me a moxie and tenacity to charge ahead and make things happen…or to stand my ground if needed.

But there’s also a flip side to every coin.

Fortunately over the past few years I’ve recognized when I DO need “anyone”. When my dad died two years ago, um hello, I needed someone. When I had my first baby 8.5 years ago, I needed someone. When my second child was in the hospital at four months old, I needed someone. And those were just the biggies.

I’m not really sure I asked for help though. I mean, I vowed I wouldn’t! I’ve pulled up my big girl pants, put my chest out, and put my hands in my pockets – no one is gonna hold these hands!

Since recognizing how my internal narrative was impacting me, I began to open up. I’ve changed my story. I consciously choose whether to trust, to feel, and to extend my hand.

The result? Friendships that are intimate, deep, and reliable. We’re holding hands and trekking across uncharted territory, and we’re doing it together. I hold their hand, and sometimes they hold mine. That’s what makes life good. And that is my new narrative.

So there is a narrative we tell ourselves that either empowers us or disempowers us and more than likely it has something to do with the past.

Begin to listen carefully to your narrative. Which version do you prefer to tell? The one that limits you or sets you free?

Take a look at your past, but don’t dwell there. Reconcile there. Sometimes in our youth we make promises to ourselves for protection. And sometime during adulthood it more than likely stopped serving us, but we keep telling the story.

There’s a line in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho where the young boy chooses his story: He realized he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.

In 2017, resolve to tell an empowering story.

What’s the greatest lesson you learned from the past that you’ve put into practice today? What inspiring impact are you making on others in the present?

Spin your tale into one that gives you strength and courage and inspiration to step out of the same old character role and into a new one.

Are you ready to do the inner work for a plot twist? Contact us.

INspired Leadership Team


Email: inspiredleadership@essdack.org

Facebook Communitywww.facebook/leadershipbeginswithin

Twitter: @TamaraKonrade @MikeSanders19 @RachelThalmann @tjfellers

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