The One Story We’re All Telling

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Kelly grew up in a house where everyone walked on eggshells around dad. Dad’s anger could erupt at any time, and it would usually be directed at Kelly. He told her it was her fault. “If only you didn’t make me so mad…”

And it was her job to pick up the emotional pieces of his explosion. Kelly learned early on what she needed to do to be loved and accepted: please and appease dad, and make everyone else feel better. And she has been living the “please and appease” strategy in every relationship and job ever since, to cover up her sense of “it’s my fault.”

Your actions will either be an authentic expression of who you are

or a creative cover-up instead.

Each one of us has some version of this going on in our lives. It starts when we are young. It is the story and the cover up that gets created about who we are through experiences, perceptions and words spoken. Here is how it forms:

1) Something happens that gives me the message “Something is wrong with me.”

2) With the sense that something is wrong with me, I fear I won’t be loved and accepted if others find out.

3) I create a cover up way of being to compensate for and hide my defect so that I will be loved and safe in life. My survival depends on it.

Today I’d like to share some common stories and cover ups to help you in identifying your own. All the stories are just varieties of the universal message “Something is wrong with me.”

All the cover ups are variations of our attempt to be loved, accepted and safe. They become our way of being in the world, the way we show up; and they work. That’s why we keep using them. But reality is that they are actually using us. And they cost us in the quality of our lives. Eventually the cost begins to outweigh the benefit. You may be noticing that in your life already.

Common stories:

  • I’m not _________ enough
  • I’m broken
  • It’s my fault
  • I’m not worth it
  • I’m too _________
  • I don’t matter
  • I’m not wanted
  • It’s not okay/safe to be________
  • I’m not seen or heard
  • I’m bad
Common cover-ups:

  • I have to fix everything and everyone
  • I must protect myself and never let anyone close
  • I’m not allowed to excel or stand out
  • I must be the best/dominate/win
  • I must take a back seat/play small
  • I have to make/keep them happy
  • I must be perfect
  • I must be independent/never needy
  • I must be dependent/always needy
  • I have to earn their love
  • I must be whoever they want me to be
I invite you to ask yourself:

1) When did I first have the sense that something was wrong with me? What was the exact story?

2) What did I do (continue to do) to compensate for that perception of myself? What is my cover up?

3) What is it costing me?

Then I’d like you to consider that the story and the cover up are just…made up. That particular interpretation of events and strategy for survival made sense to the 4 year old, 10 year old or 15 year old you at the time. Or maybe it was drilled into you by a person of authority in your life.  I’m not suggesting you should give it up. But understand that the story and cover up are not you, just a created concept of you.  You learned to live this way.

The only real fraud is the thought that you are a fraud.

Here is where it gets fun: imagine who you would be and how you would show up in life without that story. Consider that there is a YOU that was here before the extra story got layered on top. And like Michelangelo chipping away at the excess marble to unleash The David that was already always inside, you can strip off the excess stories of your experience and live from the amazing, eternal, incredible child of God you really are and have always been.

Next week we’ll focus on choices you can make in light of discovering your old story to empower you in writing your  new one.

Be great!


Becky Henderson
Becky Henderson
I am a catalyst to uncover the blocks and barriers getting in your way of creating the life you desire. Together we can transform the obstacles into opportunities. I listen to what you say…and what you do not say. Similar to a mirror, I show you what you cannot see on your own right now, and tell you what is necessary to create the results you are looking for. I value who you are and where you want to go in life.
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