I have had the pleasure of writing a foreword for the recently released book, Burdens to Blessings by Shalonda Maxie. The book highlights the author’s humble beginnings as the daughter of a mentally troubled, behaviorally disturbed mother leaving the author being raised in the care of relatives. She tells the story of how this experience defined her self-concept and ultimately formed the triumph of her journey.
All of us encounter negative life experiences and likely have adopted some limiting beliefs that were showered on our young minds. As a chocolate brown girlchild born in the 1950s, I recall the stabbing pain I felt when a neighborhood boy called me “black and ugly”. It is hard for me to erase the embarrassment of overhearing a relative whispering about my mother who lived, worked, and raised her children while managing a mental illness.
Who we are externally (short, thin, light, or not) is determined by what our parents and theirs before them put in the gene mix. Who we are internally (confident, fearful, bound, or free) is also often shaped by our parents and early experiences. Our internal recordings and broadcasting (personal narratives) are established at a young age. Our story is told, even dictated to us in the womb whether we wanted it or not. Many of us are told and may come to believe that we "are just like that no good parent". We are told we’re "not the sharpest tool in the box’." We become who we are told we are before we can even understand the power of story. Our stories begin with a thought; first, someone else’s, and then it becomes ours to accept, or not.
Most accept the story without question and build the goals, ceilings, floors, and walls of life upon that narrative. It is not until we run into adversity that we may question our self-concept. And then it is only when persistent life pain pushes us toward letting go of the old story and taking up a new thought. It’s remarkable to think that our lives can change based on a new thought. The Bible's book of Ephesians tells us to put off the former conversation of the old man and be renewed in the spirit of our mind. In other words, take a new thought. Create your new story. That does not mean lying or denying your past. It means recognizing the truth of your story, while not allowing it to determine your future. Rebuild your internal house, heighten your ceilings, strengthen your walls, and enlarge your windows.
Change the narrative of your life!!!!!
You can find more inspiration and words from E.E. Pritchett on Instagram @DrPsPeace
You can enter your narrative into our short story contest here.