Stories We Tell Ourselves


I'm not _____________ enough. Fill in the blank.

On ten different days, you might come up with ten different words for that blank. But, chances are, there are a couple words that always come up in the stories about yourself that you hold as truths.


I'm not artistic enough. Not outstanding enough. Not disciplined enough.

When I was a Freshman in high school, I took an Art class that made a huge impression on me. My weathered teacher looked like a cross between a female Dick Van Dyke and a stork. She was a disheveled, kooky mess, and I loved her. I loved the media she exposed us to, the exercises she had us do, and I was enthused and proud of the work I made in class.

But, I wasn't Paul.

He was prodigiously talented. So much so, the school administration asked him to paint a wall-sized mural outside the main office. In piercing teenage angst, I felt, 'I must not be as talented. My art isn't that good. I'm not a "natural" like Paul, and I guess I never will be.'

Boy, I wish I could take my 14-year-old self aside and rewrite that script right there!

So, last week, a dear former collaborator contacted me about helping out on a project, and I felt myself facing a gaping rabbit hole of old stories.

I'm a better manager-type than artist. I am talented - at recognizing talent. I'm not focused enough with this blogging thing. But, I can see where she's going. She's so talented. I can help her...

Don't forget, I have this Benjamin Franklin disposition thing going, too: changeable, disparate interests, passionately pursued.

The urge to play out a familiar story was strong. No, not strong, automatic.

The details have always been variable, but the common theme underneath so many of my choices in the past has been that I'm not __________ enough. Holy crap, that's not helpful, is it?

I've learned (more than once, twice, okay several times), kicking and screaming, that this is not a narrative that serves my spirit's fullest growth. This perspective leads to a pattern I do not want to continue, and it will not bring out the best in me going forward.

I must choose to change the story. I will. I'm in charge of my perception of reality here.

It took me a week to sort myself out, but I stepped back from the rabbit hole. It was a struggle for me. I adore this collaborator, but I declined.

Here's my fresh story:

I am a kickass manager-type, and I am talented at recognizing talent, but that's not all. I am making space here on this blog to expand myself artistically and express my voice. I am all kinds of enough.

What's a story that you're ready to change?