Several years ago when I was single, a friend of mine wanted me to meet her at one of the little sports bars in town. I figured that wouldn’t be too bad since it was close by and I could grab a bite to eat. It would be good to catch up with her as well because we hadn’t seen each other in quite some time.
It felt uncomfortable waiting alone in such a crowded place. It was noisy and jam packed with people talking. When she arrived I was surprised to see that she was with several of her friends. There would clearly be no catching up.
She introduced me to everyone before we were all able to get a seat. While waiting for our table I noticed how involved everyone was in their conversations, the clothes they wore, the jewelry. I wondered to myself why it was so hard for me to jump in and converse with strangers. I thought that perhaps I wasn’t dressed as nice as I should have been either.
I also felt slightly amused that one of the guys in the group had a white T-shirt on that looked about three sizes too small for his muscular upper half. We were all finally seated and he leaned in real close to me and said: “So what’s your story? You see so and so over there? She’s been divorced twice. I’ve been divorced once and my buddy here, he’s been divorced three times.”
Embarrassed, I looked down at my watch and responded that my story was that I would be leaving as soon as dinner was over. He was not amused.
Being divorced wasn’t a badge of honor for me. It was a sign of failure in my mind and not something I wanted to discuss with a group of strangers, especially not Mr. Tight-v-neck t-shirt guy.
What’s the story you tell yourself? Are you too shy to talk to strangers or to make new friends? Maybe you feel you don’t deserve to be happy or to have the things or experiences you want. Maybe people in your childhood convinced you that you were less- than.
Over the years I started catching myself when I would tell myself these stories. I realized that what I spent time thinking about determined the quality of the life I was living. I became less afraid to try new things and in the process I started to feel alive. I felt joy for the first time. Talking to strangers does not even phase me now. If I want something and I can afford it, I get it.
No longer am I embarrassed of my story because it’s made me who I am today. Mistakes or certain experiences have a way of refining us.
Never EVER tell yourself a story that disempowers you. No one can make us feel unimportant, useless, or stupid unless we allow them to.