The Stories We Tell Ourselves

In November of 2015 I had my third baby girl. I had promised myself that after I was cleared by the doctor I would finally get committed to a workout program and get my body in shape. I had resolved that 2016, the year I turned 40, was going to be the year I finally got the toned body I always wanted.

I have always been petite. I am the middle child of five girls and I am the runt of the pack. I am shorter than all of my sisters, by at least two inches. I have always had the skinny chicken legs and never really weighed much my whole life, even though I loved food. While I have always been grateful for my able body,  I always wanted the muscle. I wanted the toned arms and muscle bulging thighs.

I told myself it wasn’t in the cards for me as this was just the way my body was. There was no way I could have those toned arms or muscles.

In May of 2016 I still hadn’t started my workout routine and my 40th birthday was nearing. Although we are an active family, my husband and I had never committed to a consistent workout. No more excuses. We committed to working out together, 5 days a week for 30 days straight and eating healthy. If we didn’t like it after 30 days we could stop, but we had to at least try.

We woke up every morning by 5:30am and together did meditation, our 25 minute workout and committed to eating clean. What happened over those next few weeks changed my life drastically. For the first time in my life, I had built muscles in my arms and legs that I didn’t even know existed.  It turns out that when you exercise and eat healthy your body does change!

I was shocked! This wasn’t the story I had been telling myself since a teenager. I wasn’t supposed to have muscle. I’m the runt, the girl with the chicken legs.

Author Eleanor Brown says this, “We all have stories we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves we are too fat, too ugly, or too old, or too foolish. We tell ourselves these stories because they allow us to excuse our actions, and they allow us to pass off the responsibility for things we have done-maybe to something within our control, but anything other than the decisions we have made.”

What I realized was this. The reason for me never having those toned arms was not because it wasn’t the way my body was made but it was an EXCUSE I used so I didn’t have to do the work that was required to build those muscles.

It has been one of the biggest AHA moments of my life.  The stories I had created in my life to protect my excuses were holding me back from my full potential. Since that moment last year I have challenged every story I tell myself. This new viewpoint has led to so much growth, including the launch of SisterUp. It also led me to finally finding a diagnosis for all of my body aches, hair thinning, tiredness, etc. It turns out the excuse I had given myself for these things of just being a working mom of three was actually an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.

The stories we tell ourselves are just that, stories. What stories are you telling yourself that are holding you back and enabling your excuses? What is holding you back from starting or growing your business or side business? As the storyteller WE are in control of changing the story at every word.


Lindsay Stephenson is the co-founder of SisterUp. She will be speaking at the SisterUp One-Day Workshop in Los Angeles on May 6, 2017. Tickets are available here.

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