Letting Go of Toxic Stories

What stories are you telling yourself?

“I can’t lose weight! No matter what I try, I sabotage myself. I have no self-control.”

I’m good at telling this story. I’ve been practicing it for years. Probably, most of my adult life. I’m a big dude. I’m six feet tall, and for most of the last decade, I’ve been around 250 lbs. In 2020 I gained an extra 30 lbs.

I guess getting divorced and being locked down in my apartment with Ben & Jerry wasn’t a recipe for success.

These stories are helping you

Wait… what? How are they helping me? They are clearly hurting me by causing me to over-eat and avoid the very real problems I’m heading for in the future.

This is also true. However, this story, and others like “I can’t meal plan. I don’t know what I’m going to eat until after I’ve eaten it.” are helping me feel comfortable. They help me feel better about eating whatever I want without focusing on the consequences.

Even if you can objectively look at these stories and tell yourself that they are hurting you, these limiting beliefs serve a purpose. Otherwise, there would be no reason for you to have them.

Thank the stories for helping you

If you want to change your life, you have to embrace these stories. You have to acknowledge them and be honest about how they are helping you. It helps to visualize these stories as external entities, friends that have been with you for a long time.

“You’ve been a great friend for all these years. You’ve helped me make sense of this chaotic world. However, it’s time we go our separate ways. It’s clear to me that we’re on different paths. I need new friends to help me through the next chapter of my life. I am so grateful for everything you’ve done for me. I love you. Goodbye.”


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Written by Andrew Shell, a Senior Web Engineer/People Lead from Madison, WI.