A few months ago, I was in a concert version of the musical Follies over the summer. My heart was wrung out by the end of every rehearsal as I watched sweetheart Sally being rejected by her beloved Ben over and over.
In the show, present-day Sally attends a reunion party where she reconnects with a man from her past, the now successful lawyer Ben who has been married to her old roommate Phyllis. Ben and Sally embrace one another, re-living their warm heart-opening moments together though they are both married. Sally is convinced they will both leave their respective spouses for one another but everyone leaves the party with coupled the same way they entered yet with a little confusion, heartache, and issues to work through once they get home.
In a flashback, Sally goes off on Ben for messing around with her yet giving her worldly roommate Phyllis a ring. She confronts asking, “What is it, am I cheap? Is that what it is? I’m not good enough?!”
“Think whatever you goddamn please!” Ben shouts as he storms out.
Sally pressed Ben for a reason and that’s what he told her. It is actually quite apropos seeing as how that’s what we do as humans anyway. We think whatever we goddamn please.
Your mind is constantly filling in blanks where you don’t have information with stories that you’re telling yourself. You will tell yourself a story that suits a narrative which makes the most sense to you, whether it’s right or wrong.
In this instance, the character Sally was telling herself, “I am not good enough.” Not good enough for Ben, not good enough to keep herself from marrying Buddy who she did not love. She always had the “not good enough” narrative playing in her mind.
The stories you tell yourself often point back to an incorrect “lesson” you learned from childhood that has stayed with you as a deep wound and belief in adulthood. Sally’s wound is, “I’m not good enough.” So now whenever she is missing something in her life or does not get what she wants, the old familiar “not good enough” song plays in her head.
So what can we do about all of this? How can we change the story that have playing on a loop in our minds? The first step, as with everything, is to notice and break the pattern.
When we start making the actions of another tell us something about us, we must take a pause and ask, “What is the story I am telling myself?”
You Deserve Good Things,