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Change how you “see” and you can change everything
July 19,2023 by

Not everyone, but many people feel inadequate. I know this feeling well. Growing up, I was always related to as dumb, as someone who wouldn’t amount to anything.  I got a general high school diploma from a trade school — it was them saying that I wasn’t good enough to go to a regular high school, forget college. I was treated like a dumb Puerto Rican!

It’s not surprising that I doubted myself, that I had sense of not being good enough. Not smart enough. Nor social enough. Not good looking enough. Not the right complexion. It took me a long time to discover that many people had similar experiences. Feeling inadequate is all too common, even among those we think successful. What is that feeling?

We all, from a very young age, are writing our autobiography; in our heads. Some people even use diaries and journals. As we create our story, we create a internal narrative that includes how come we are the way we are. Psychologist call this our identity. They’re always into labeling.

The ironic thing about our identity is that even though it comes from a story we made up, we ignore the fact that it just a story we made up! Look, we’re all bias about ourselves and insist that ours is a “true” story. Let me share a personal story showing how are stories are not the truth.

Your narrative becomes your lens

I am a fraternal twin. I grew up with the narrative that my brother was always the favorite son. I have a long list of incidents that unquestionably confirms my perspective. However, speaking one day with my twin brother, I discovered that he too had his long list of events demonstrating how I was the favorite. How was that possible?

The stories we make up, are simply that. It’s not that the events are false. Rather it’s like competing newspapers covering the same event, they have different perspectives.  We get seduced into believing that our stories are the “truth”. That’s how we get stuck in our narrative and identity. We believe it’s “who I am”.

It’s not so. You are not your story. However, the narrative of your story also becomes the lens from which you experience much of your life. If your narrative is “everything bad always happens to me”; then you develop a concurring identity; “it’s always my fault”, “I’m a failure”. It’s not surprising then that you would experience the future with doubt and anxiety; “nothing is ever going to work out for me”. We need to liberate ourselves from our stories and narrative in order to experience life differently. How do I do that?

There is no “Truth”, just stories

You have to accept on a fundamental level that stories, of all kinds, are what we use to understand life. The stories about ourselves. The stories about our nation. The stories of what’s in the news. The story of what just happened. They are just stories. There is no “Truth”; only a variety of perspectives.

Now there is no need to feel anxious to learn that there’s no such thing as Truth. It doesn’t mean there can’t be a consensus on how to understand something. It does mean we have to trust people.

Paradoxically, it is common to feel anxiety, stress and have doubts when breaking out of our story. That is a common reaction when we begin something new. Those are positive feelings when you’re embarking on something challenging. There is no need to impose our old narrative that you’re not good enough. That narrative leads to self-sabotage.

Don’t go in your head saying “I’m not good enough, this won’t work out”. Our stories can be self-sabotaging. Use your excitement to create something new.

Stay Present

Stay in the moment. Stay in the activity that you are doing. That will get your adrenaline rushing, which is not to be confused with anxiety. It’s what your body/mind needs to stay sharp during challenging moments.

Often when doing something new we feel uncomfortable. This is normal, embrace it.

When you step out of your story, your entire perspective changes.

Everything changes when you understand you are not your stories.

When you change how you see (not through the lens of your stories) the things you see also change.


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