the stories we tell ourselves

There is an endless buzz of chatter in my head.

Sometimes I tell myself nice things:

You are such a kick ass [wife, daughter, nurse, friend etc.]

You are really good at [laughing, scratching the dog’s ears,  playing harp music]

and then, of course, there is the negative, judgmental bullshit:

You really suck at [assembling Chinese-made furniture, calling your relatives, making small talk]

You look like shit today, and your thighs are basically disgusting

That’s an awesome idea, but you can’t pull it off

And even worse, projecting that kind of negativity towards others

You are a lot better than him because of [x, y, z]

She is clearly a fucking idiot

Its exhausting, and its all a load of crap.

If I’ve gotten anything from my daily mini meditation sessions, its being able to pull away, ever so slightly from the chatter. Its still there, buzzing away.  But sometimes the light burns through the smoke, and I can see a bit clearer.

Who I am is not my job, how I look in a dress, how I interact with others.  Who you are is not the balance of your bank account statement, how many friends you have on Facebook, how many countries stamped in your passport. We aren’t even good or bad.  We just are.

Maybe this is the void, to be everything and nothing at all.

It is scary for me to face this truth, to break away from old ways of looking at things.  I have spent much of my life valuing my worth based on how much you love me.  I have suffered because of this. You have suffered because of this. Nobody can love me enough.

But see, there is light breaking through my bullshit.  The stories we tell ourselves are just that: stories. They are as thin as the air we breathe. It doesn’t matter what I think, what you think.  Deep down, there is silence and there is peace.  Its the stuff we all are made of.


Buddha sez its all good

10 thoughts on “the stories we tell ourselves

  1. tarrtarr

    i think we are more than just “are.” I’m a christian and not a buddhist, but I think that there is a universal truth between us…that we ARE something good, we are not as bad as we tell ourselves. we ARE okay.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      That is part of Christian thought, right? We are really all part of something good or positive. I like that philosophy, I think the biggest danger is trying to put us into boxes based on human thoughts or behaviors. Serial killers give mothers day gifts. Priests abuse children. To some degree, none of us are all good or all bad. It’s more complex. And I think there is a part, deeper down, that is timeless, and much larger than our thoughts or choices or behaviors. Thanks for your reply.

  2. Tiffiny

    So true. Silence and Peace. The trick is in getting to that place and then remembering it’s there. Nice post.

  3. matesonlane

    I enjoyed this. Its something i think about a lot. How the stories we tell ourselves and tell others are selective and how those choices inform our identity -sometimes in positive and sometimes i negative ways. which is maybe a little different than what you are getting at, but similar. i also have been told twice this week that i think too much, so i am also working on calming down the chatter. i enjoy all of your posts actually and regret i don’t get to comment more often. thank you for writing.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      Yes, it seems to me to be a slippery slope to form an identity based on what I think- but that’s what I do, and most everyone else does too. Good luck with the chatter, or lack thereof.


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