Last night my 14-year-old daughter had a friend spend the night and the evening’s plans included watching a movie and doing a DIY project from Pinterest. After much discussion they finally picked a project and used my ancient stash of fabric paints to paint and decorate an old pair of tennis shoes. I found the girls in my studio looking for paint brushes. My daughter’s friend was very interested in my studio! She was intrigued. Wowed. Dazzled, in fact. But when I started to show her around, she immediately looked embarrassed and commented, “I’m not from a crafty family. We don’t know how to do things like this.”
The girls gathered the materials and the shoes then cleared the kitchen table and began to paint. Each time I walked by, I watched their progress and genuinely enjoyed watching the design develop, and told them so, with the aim of encouraging them in their adventure. But each time, the friend said apologetically, “I’m not crafty.” Or she’d state, “I’m not artistic at all.” Yet the evidence was right in front of me. The shoes looked great. But the story that she believes is: “We’re not crafty people.”
This made me think. What stories do we tell ourselves that might not be true? What messages were we given as children which have no basis in reality in our lives as adults? How many times have you heard, “I’m terrible at math.” Or “I can’t draw a straight line.” What messages about ourselves do we carry about athletic ability, creativity, music, cooking, computers, math, and art? About beauty? About our core value?
And what stories do we tell our children? We all define our children and shape them in thousands of tiny ways…it’s called parenting. But are all the messages we’re giving them true? Do our messages and stories leave room for a child to be dazzled by things that don’t dazzle us?
What stories do you know about yourself? Are they true? I mean really true? Are most of your stories positive or negative? Do you feel wrong allowing yourself to have positive stories? How have your stories changed over the years? And what stories will change in the future?
An interesting line of thought, isn’t it? How much more could we be if we only told ourselves the right stories.