Who were you when you were a kid?
I was the lazy one. The underachiever. The one who got by by doing the least humanly possible. Who read all day instead of studying or working.
I told my husband this the other day. Then I told him that I still thought of myself as lazy, as underachieving. He just looked at me and burst out laughing.
He’s known me for over 15 years and never, not once in all that time, have the words lazy or underachiever, been words he thought of when he thinks of me.
And yet? I still think of myself as lazy. As doing the least minimum possible to get by.
Even though I’m on the PTA. Chair a volunteer program at school. Wrote a novel. Pack wholesome lunches for two kids every day. Do a million loads of laundry every. single. week. Work tirelessly for three, sometimes four clients, while managing my own blog and starting my own business. Help with homework, push literature until it comes out of the kids’ ears, listen to endless conversations and concerns about school and friendship. And so on, and so forth, from sun-up to sun-down.
And yet? If you ask me, I’ll probably shrug, wrinkle my nose, and say that I probably can do more…should do more…that I don’t because I’m lazy.
Have you ever noticed how the stories we’re told when we’re kids stick? How they become truth? Indelible truth. In ways that are so very, very hard to alter. In ways that literally shape us and turn us into who we are, or, at the very least, into who we believe we are.
As kids, we all too often become the stories that are told about us. As adults, we are the stories we tell about ourselves. And yes, often those stories are one and the same.
Now that I’m aware of this story I’ve been hearing and telling for over three decades, I’m going to make a conscious effort to change the story and change how I perceive myself.
Because if I’m not behaving like a lazy bum, at the very least I could be giving myself credit for all the work I do instead of constantly berating myself for not doing more.
When I fall into bed, spent, at the end of the day, I’m going to focus on what I did do, not what I didn’t. I’m going to tell myself that I’m a good mom, a great writer, a supportive wife, a trustworthy friend. I’m going to remind myself that a day is only 24 hours long and that I’m making the very best of the ones I can control.
And I’m going to try to change the story I tell about myself and be a little bit more supportive of my own efforts and successes.
What’s your story?