Don’t Buy the Lie! – Sue Bowles
Did you hear it today? That quiet whisper in your ear. “You’re not good enough.” “Nobody cares.” “You’re too screwed up to be of any help.” “You can’t do it. You may as well just give up.”
We all hear them. It’s like there’s something sitting on our shoulders, ready to blow another lie into our ears at every opportunity. Those whispers are called ‘self-talk,’ and for most people, self-talk is a huge pitfall in life.
What do those lies stem from? Usually, comparison of some type. “I’m not as good as ____.” “I’m not pretty/handsome like _____.” “It comes so easy to ___; I must be stupid.” It could be things we tell ourselves, or things others have told us, either verbally or nonverbally. Sometimes the lies come from trauma or some severe hurt that we don’t know how to deal with, so we stuff our feelings. But here’s the thing: it will find a way out. Everything finds a way out at some point. The old adage “You can run but you can’t hide” is true. Very true.
When you start on the wrong track, it’s easy to stay on it, and before you know it, you’re so far off track you don’t know where to find hope! The scary part is that the whispers become so much a part of the thought process that it’s hard to delineate between what’s true and what’s a lie.
By the time those lies become so familiar they feel like truth, another sad phenomenon happens: we believe the lies, and they drive how we interact with others. It goes like this:
“I’m not good enough. Nobody cares. So since no one cares, I can’t let on that I’m not okay. I have to look like I’m strong because if I take a risk, I might get hurt again. And I don’t want to be hurt anymore.” We hurt so much, we put on a mask to keep people at arm’s length. That mask buries what is really being felt, desired…needed. We hurt, but we don’t know how to ask for help because – back to the lies – “Nobody cares.” At least that’s what the self-talk tells us. Yet, internally, over time, we become dissatisfied with feeling trapped in those lies. It’s a mental hell! We lose touch with ourselves, and we shut others out. And it’s all a circular lie.
So how on earth do you fight a lie when you’re not even sure what’s a lie and what’s truth?! Trust. The same thing that lied to us is the one thing that will bring us out of it.
Think about it. When a soldier is in a battle, he doesn’t fight alone. There are others around who keep a watchful eye, see things from a different perspective, have other ideas of ways to deal with situations. They trust each other with their lives. Literally.
So what does that look like for us? I can speak for my journey and hope it helps yours.
When I speak, I share some about my struggle with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are about unresolved emotions, expressing themselves through a relationship with food. I got so lost in the lies that I desperately wanted out, but the lies had convinced me I was ‘too far gone.’ Deep down, I knew the only way out was to reach out for help.
I heard a quote that basically says “Change will happen when the pain to change is less than the pain to stay the same.” That is so true! I had to trust that others would care enough to help me. And beyond that, I had to trust that their perspective was much clearer than mine. Even deeper than that, I had to trust that I had value and was worth more than the way I was living. When I first started my
journey, I couldn’t put any of that into words. I was just desperate.
Healing didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t easy, and it certainly was not painless. But it saved me. Little signposts along the way showed me I was on the right path. My counselor, and eventually dietician, were the flashlights lighting my path. I trusted them, and I trusted the process. And over time, I learned to trust myself. I noticed my self-talk started to get better. It took many years for me to start to truly believe I was worth it. I lost count of how many times I commented to my counselor, “It’s not worth it.” She continually replied, “What you’re really saying, is ‘I’m not worth it.’” That hurt, but it was true.
What masks are you wearing today? What lies are you believing? And what are those masks and lies keeping you from? Are you trying to convince others – and maybe yourself – that you’re someone you’re really not? That’s a mask. And masks are lies.
The first sign of trusting is to reach out. That is the scariest – and most life-giving – step you will take. Nothing happens until you reach out. By reaching out, you invite others in. You begin to welcome what you have silently, painfully, and desperately yearned for, and didn’t know if it was possible.
I’m living proof that it IS possible! And it is worth the risk…and beyond that, YOU are worth the risk! You don’t have to ‘have it all together’ first. That’s another lie. You are not a burden to anyone who would help. That’s another lie. People go into helping professions because they want to help! It’s up to you if you will accept what is being offered. Here’s the thing: it’s okay to not be okay. Anything trying to convince you of the opposite of that is…say it with me…a lie.
It is my hope and desire that you are challenged to take that first step, that hard step, that terrifying step. That step is also the life-giving step. As one who took it a long time ago, it leads to a lot of other steps, and it gets cooler and cooler, and the view gets better and better. Don’t settle for what you dream of when it can become reality. But you have to take that first step. Will you? Don’t buy the lie!
Sue Bowles is a Master Certified Life Coach, award-winning author, international podcast guest, and speaker/conference presenter. She is the owner of My Step Ahead, committed to helping break the stigma around mental health struggles, advancing the message that ‘it’s okay to not be okay.’ Sue’s first book, “This Much I Know…The Space Between,” is available on Amazon and Kindle.