Day 46: Story Time

Awareness is a funny thing. At least it is for me. As I was observing my thoughts this morning in meditation, I was made aware of the stories I’ve been telling myself about why I’ve been able to accomplish the things that I have. The stories go like this: I didn’t have the grades to get into Florida State, so I had to go to FAMU. I only got into Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) because it was the inaugural year of their Writing program, and they were just trying to enroll students. It was a matter of timing. I tend to be able to get jobs in my industry relatively easy, but that has more to do with the quality of the companies that have hired me. I only got my adjunct teaching job because they were desperate, the school wasn’t a high-level university, and the standards for adjuncts nowadays are low. I only made the varsity basketball team as a freshman because we didn’t have a lot of talent.

These thoughts kept coming up one after the other, and it was obvious how poisonous this line of thinking is and has been for me. I’ve consciously had these very thoughts in isolation at different times and have been fully aware that I tend to look for the reason something good happens to me. My tendency isn’t to give myself credit or just accept when I accomplish something or have something good happen to me. I said earlier that awareness is a funny thing because while I’m aware of this tendency, I was not aware of it as a system of belief that’s underlined every single thing I’ve done, attempted to do, and thought about doing. I was also not aware of how much thinking this way diminishes the people and institutions that have decided to accept, hire, or select me. I downgraded FAMU and made them less than who they are as an institution. I judged and decided the intentions of the people at SCAD, Wingate University, and every job I’ve ever had. The things I had to tell myself about them to justify my belief about myself are horrendous. That isn’t fair, and I will have to ask for forgiveness and forgive myself.

This all came up because of a conversation I had with my partner about pursuing a career in wellness since it’s something I have a natural passion for. It’s shown up throughout my life, but I’ve never acted on the desires I’ve secretly held inside. I’ve imagined myself as a naturopath so many times. I’ve purchased the material to become a personal trainer. I’ve completed a coaching certification program. I’ve looked into becoming an herbalist, an EFT practitioner, a counselor, a therapist, and so many other types of wellness professionals. But when I think about doing some of these things, specifically becoming a naturopath, a doctor, I immediately have anxiety. I revert back to my stories about how all the other things I accomplished were just a matter of circumstance, and there’s no way I could actually become a naturopath. Not at 40.

The pervasiveness of this story became so clear to me. These thoughts have been operating in my subconscious, and I’ve been functioning according to that script. Now I understand where those initial “why you can’t do that” or “that’s too much for you” thoughts come from every time I think of doing something new. Now I have the awareness to take those thoughts captive and not let them take me for a ride as I normally do. I obviously have to continue to build my confidence through conscious, intentional, and disciplined action, but something is exciting about gaining even more control over my thoughts.