Or rather, in Amy Cuddy’s words, the way you tell your story to yourself matters.
A big part of success in life – whether it be personal or professional has to do with self-expression. However, it’s difficult to be self-expressed when you feel you have to hide something. Many people feel they have to hide their past, or at least parts of it. They may not be so proud of some things they did. The irony is that the people they think are keeping tally are too busy with their own lives to care!
The story of your past lives entirely in your own mind. Who is to say the past even happened? Photos? Relatives? From a conspiracy theory standpoint, both could be rigged. Therefore, the past makes as good a story as you are willing to tell, because no one can really go back and fact check. It then matters greatly how you tell your story to yourself. Are you willing to stand behind the statement that mistakes you made was how you learnt? You really could if you worked on it. We can also tell the story about mom or dad in a different way. You may tell yourself the story that your mom was a meanie that yelled. Did you ever ask what you did to provoke her? If you have your own children, you know that they are relentless. They don’t stop until they see your crumble and not even then. Maybe the story about mom is that she was both a human and a saint.
If you tell yourself you have been nothing but a failure, that’s what you’ve got. Underneath it, however, you may not want to cop to that you didn’t do the work required to be the success you wanted to be. That is fine too. What is not fine is taking yourself down for something you didn’t do. You didn’t fail. You didn’t even do the 10,000 hours of practice required to even assess success or failure. Hence, the judgment of failure’s way premature!
The hardest part is to admit that your story has some holes in it. After that you can move the story along the trajectory of your life that can be proud of. Why would you want to live with this kind of pebble in your shoe anymore if you don’t have to? Do everything you can to tell your story about yourself anew. Know that you have everything you need to do so. Have it go your way. It is your life.