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From Change Your Story - Change Your Life: Did Anyone Ever Gag you? Take it Off!

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

I heard these words when listening to a talk by Gina Barecca, academician, writer, columnist and humorist.

How many of us have taken in messages that tell us we shouldn't speak? Many of these messages might go back to childhood and be veiled in many forms such as

Boys don't cry

Girls don't show anger

Don't talk back to parents

Don't interrupt

Confident girls are stuck up

Sensitive boys are weak

Why can't you be more like ...

Don't talk about your problems

Don't talk about our family's problems

Children should be seen not heard

My grandmother actually got on to me once when I was about 10 for beating my male cousin at putt putt! Really, I'm supposed to protect boys? Well that was a long time ago but similar messages still circulate.

Do you agree with these sentiments? Do you ever experience an impulse to gag yourself? I'm sure you know that you don't have to, but sometimes we aren't even aware that these old messages are circulating in our minds and thus affecting our experiences and behaviors.

Effectively we are gagging ourselves!

Barecca went on to say that rather than be the object or victim of your story, you can learn to be the narrator of it.


You must own what happened but the messages you took in might not be accurate. Instead of trying to ignore the story (because it caused you pain), lean into it and tell yourself the truth. Recognize how it has influenced who you are, then choose what parts to keep. Maybe being gagged by thinking that girls should not "cause waves" has hurt you but also taught you to be an incredible listener. You could choose to change you belief about causing waves but hold onto your ability to listen to others.

Similarly, maybe being gagged by being told that you should sit still and listen (particularly difficult for some boys) taught you that something was wrong with you but also created in you a sensitivity toward others who struggle. You could choose to value your ability to understand others' feelings and reject the message that you're not okay.

She said people have been gagged in many ways but what can you do with a gag? You can keep wearing it or you can


Barecca also talked with humor about how we were handed things throughout our lives that we didn't like --but with good intention. She says it's as if our parents packed our lunch because they loved us, with celery, which we never liked. So take that celery and toss it, eat it anyway or trade it. You now have all the options. Or perhaps they packed you 10 sweaters to prevent you from being cold. But you only needed one. You can unpack the other nine. There is no reason to carry 10 sweaters forever. You don't have to eat the celery even if you know that those who gave it to you meant well. It's the same with old messages. Try using humor where appropriate with some of your past messages. That shows acceptance, grace and can be very empowering.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Wayne Dyer

Benjamin Hardy suggests that your present reality is what you said yes to yesterday. As children, we probably said yes to what we were taught. But what about all the things you said yes to last year or yesterday, that are creating your present? He says that

"your future reality is what you say yes to today."

He explains that you do not have to be a product of your past. Who you are will be defined by your future instead.

Which direction do you want to go?

What can you let go of from your past.

What can you say yes to for your future?

Would you like to learn more about changing the story that you've been believing about yourself? I have just completed a new workbook which can take you through a step by step process of increasing awareness of your old story, reevaluating the usefulness of it, and then rewriting the parts that need rewriting. I'm Not Good Enough: How the Stories You Tell Yourself are Ruining Your Life.There are over 30 handouts to take you through the whole process . To read more and order click here.

I'd love to hear from you. Please scroll down and leave a comment.


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