So You Failed. Quit Stacking Evidence Against Yourself
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So You Failed. Quit Stacking Evidence Against Yourself.
After a birthday getaway to San Fransico with my husband, my kids were dying to hang out when I got back. So naturally, we pulled our Jurassic World Monopoly and I totally whopped my 6-year-old and 9-year old!
I got the most satisfaction out of beating my kids in that game of Monopoly.
There were tears and hysterics. They were screaming, “I never win anything.” So much drama ensued from their inability to win. Every time they landed on me and had to hand over their money they legitimately cried, “you’re taking all my money“.
Halfway through the game my 6-year-old daughter went bankrupt and joined forces on my team. My son and I were really into the game, so we kept playing.
Not long after, our fun game of Monopoly quickly turned into life lessons about how you handle yourself when you don’t win and how to behave when you’re feeling down and out.
The longer it went on, the more it escalated. The conversation “I don’t win at anything” spiraled into things like…
- “I’m a horrible person.”
- “I’m dumb.”
- “I made a 40 on my math test, Mom.”
It was then that I realized we were no longer talking about Monopoly. This board game became a great conversation starter about how my son was internalizing the situation around getting a poor grade.
What I noticed was that he was starting to add all of this meaning to events that were playing out in his life, like…
- “I never win at games so I’m a bad person”
- “I made a 40 on my math test so I’m dumb”
- “I’m going to get in trouble and I’m not going to be able to go to 4th grade.”
That’s when I realized that just like a 9-year-old, we all keep a folder of evidence that builds a case against ourselves (regardless of age).
As we started sifting through the graded papers in my son’s binder that night, I found stacks of papers with scores of 100, 90, 95, 100, 83, 90, 100 and so on. There was overwhelming evidence that proves my son is amazing and smart, yet that one piece of paper marked with a 40 held the most weight and meaning in his mind.
How many times do we stop ourselves because of one perceived failure?
When we take one risk and it doesn’t go the way we planned or experience broken expectations, we protect ourselves. We say, “I’m never doing that again,” or “That means this is who I am now.”
What’s crazy is that one moment of rejection or failure that happened in your past is still limiting you today.
- As a result, you may not fully express yourself in relationships.
- You may be willing to apply yourself at work, in relationships, your health, or with new hobbies, but you’ll never give the full amount. No one can get “all of you”.
I want you to consider, how much evidence do you have are you stacking up to build a case against yourself?
If you’re an entrepreneur or a driven employee, you’ve done amazing work so far in your career and have served so many clients. You may have this one client who’s loud and in your ear talking about all of these negative qualities about your business or your performance, but you can’t let that get to you. You can’t add meaning to those comments and let those few negative things start to define you or limit you.
If you’re a stay-at-home-mom, you may not get the amount of recognition you want or need. When your spouse makes a critical comment, or friends put you down don’t make their words or actions significant.
Whatever your age or situation, we all do it. We blend the facts of events or words with stories we create in our heads. We stack the negative evidence to build a case against ourselves and cling tightly to that file folder.
I want to encourage you to start pulling in evidence that supports your greatness.
That could look like journaling the good things that happened that day. Or maybe you get a literal file folder and print out everything that made you feel good about yourself during the day so you can reference it later.
Let go of those negative things that were said about you or that happened in your life. You are the only one giving that person or event in your life significance.
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