Many of us may have absorbed painful messages as children and even though we might not mean to, we often continue believing those stories even in adulthood because they are ingrained.

When I think about the stories I tell myself, they are painful ideas that I learned as a child growing up in an abusive home.

The story that has repeated the most is that I am not enough. When I look back over my life I can see just how much this has held me back. My trauma certainly played a major role in me having virtually no confidence or self-esteem but continuing to believe that I was worthless made me too scared to try new things or have dreams because there was no way I was deserving of achieving anything.

As a child I learned that it is bad to be who you really are. I wasn’t allowed to just be a kid, to run and play and laugh, and so this taught me that hiding parts of myself was the only safe option, the only way to protect myself from more pain and rejection. Even as an adult, this story has led me to hide most of myself away from the world.

Growing up in an emotionally unstable home, I learned that it was better to just keep all my emotions bottled up. My family never talked about how we were feeling and as a teen I felt extremely alone with my feelings and the thoughts of worthlessness that swirled around in my head because I had no one to talk to. I still sometimes struggle with talking about how I feel because that voice says no one will understand or care.

These stories are hard to let go of once you believe them. If it’s all you’ve ever known it can feel impossible to even imagine that you could think nurturing thoughts about yourself.

We don’t have to believe every thought we have. It’s okay and, I believe, possible to let go of the stories that tell us we are unlovable and unworthy.

As someone who is no-contact with both parents I want to let go of the painful messages they taught me. It’s time for me to lay these stories to rest and make new ones.

Some reminders for me (and you,if you need them):

•Thoughts aren’t facts. We can observe them and not attach ourselves to them. Easier said than done but it’s doable.

•Awareness of our inner dialogue is so important. We can analyze these hurtful stories and question the truthfulness of them.

•Remember to go easy on yourself. It is okay if an old story you’re trying to shed pops up again. No one is perfect. These things take time and everyone has bad days.

We can create new stories for ourselves. Stories where we are loved and whole. It won’t always be easy but it will be worth it.