What does your T-shirt say?

Imagine you are wearing a T-shirt with a motto or saying on it that sums up how you relate to life. It is invisible only to you. Everyone else relates to your T-shirt motto unerringly, and treats you accordingly. You wonder, from time to time, how it is that life seems to always be a certain way for you, and very different from someone else.

Perhaps it is because their T-shirt says something different than yours.

For example:

Jane* (not a real name or person) was feeling grief and sadness after a death in the extended family. She felt huge stress at work as well as at home, where it seemed she did all the giving, and no one was ever there for her.

When we explored what her T-shirt might say, it became apparent that Jane’s T-shirt (life motto) said- “I am strong all the time. Others HAVE needs. I MEET needs”. When the crisis of a huge life loss occurred, Jane’s T-shirt, still in place, held others at bay. She had no idea how to risk asking for help, how to let others see her humanness, how to allow herself to be overwhelmed and hurting.

The good news is: you can change your T-shirt! Even if you have held onto this belief for most of your life, it is possible to shift to something more positive FOR YOU.

If you want more support, you can learn to ask for this.

If you don’t like how others take you for granted, perhaps you would like to re-think your T-shirt motto to “I matter, too”, or “I’m Ok, you’re OK”.

If you find yourself isolated or alone, perhaps it is time to learn how to have boundaries instead of walls around you.

If you put yourself down, maybe your new motto could be “I am capable, intelligent, courageous”.

What if you wrote your new motto on a card and tape it to your bathroom mirror, inside your wallet, put it on your desk for 2 weeks, where you can see it often.

Just like the discomfort of wearing clothing that is too small or constricting, you can take off an unhelpful self-limiting belief and choose to “wear one” that fits you better.