What Stories Do You Tell Yourself?

I want to begin this post with a quote from Washington Irving which goes like: “I am always at a loss to know how much to believe of my own stories”

I stumbled upon this quote recently and it really struck a chord with me. But first I had to look up who Washington Irving was. Turns out he was a 19th century American author, essayist and historian. I do not think I had ever heard of him before now – although as I discovered I that I had come across two of his best-known stories The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle before.

Now back to Washington Irving’s quote; and the question that it triggered in my mind is how much should we believe the stories we tell ourselves? For don’t we all tell ourselves stories which define who we are? We are the daughter of X, the son of W, the sister of Y, the mother of Z and so forth. What do you do, people ask us. I work as an accountant; I am a blogger, I work as a pharmacist, I work from home, I am an unemployed mother with two kids, I work in a bank. We tell other stories too. I am a breast cancer survivor. I have ALS. I have HIV/AIDS. I own an NGO. I am a social justice advocate. I feel empowered. I want to make a difference.

And then there are the darker stories we tell ourselves. The less-than stories. The stories we hide in our closets. I am scared. I am damaged. I am not worthy. And the stories others tell us about who they think we are.

Let me tell you the story of a man called Victor. At the age of six, Victor was taken to a children’s counseling center by his father. At the end of this visit they leave with a story (diagnosis) of Victor’s diminished mental capacity. Victor grew up believing in this story he has been told, and believing the same story, he was treated as a fool by everyone who knew him. Some years later, Victor took an intelligence test which revealed that he had an amazingly high IQ. Now he had a new story to tell himself and others. Victor Serebriakoff was not a fool, but an intelligent, capable human being who incredibly went on to become the president of MENSA, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world.

The stories we tell ourselves shape our lives.

But here is the thing we should never forget. We are the author of our own stories. For every perceived weakness we possess, we posses huge potential too. We get to choose which story we will tell ourselves – a story that will lift us up or knock us down. I am not denying there are obstacles to overcome in your story, that life will throw you off course time and time again; but you still have power over the stories you tell yourself.

One of the stories I told myself years ago was that I would never get over my obstacles and truly achieve all my dreams, hopes and aspirations. I would never feel happy again. And yet years have gone by, and I can’t say I have done so much towards those dreams but I am still fighting, and there have been moments of happiness, success, peace and joy. I recently heard someone speaking on the topic of suffering and he suggested that instead of saying to ourselves, I am sad, or depressed, or lonely, we could try saying “I am the person with sadness, with grief, with loneliness” These words have the power to change our story to one of possibility and hope that we will not always be the person who is suffering.

What are some of the stories you tell yourself? Do they help or hold you back? Is there some way you could change an element of your story to make a difference to your life? I would really love to hear your thoughts.

Hi, I am Nii Aryee and I choose from henceforth to tell positive stories about myself no matter what I am going through.


The Burden Of The Listener

listen more
Who is the “Listener”? Well, in my opinion, the listener is the one who listens to everyone’s problems. Yep. That is me. I am the “Numero Uno Listener” of people’s problems. I remember one time I was sitting by a young lady in a trotro bus from school headed home and from the look of things and how she was behaving, she came across as a distraught, confused and sad young lady. I made the mistake of asking her a two word question: “What’s wrong?” Continue reading

Adolescent Girls more at risk of getting HIV/AIDS

teenage girls

Teenage girls in sub-Saharan Africa are five times more likely to be infected with HIV than boys, a new UN report says.

Nearly half of all the adolescents living with HIV globally are in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in East Africa, according to the report by the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAids).

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Happy Valentine’s Day And The Reasons Why I Had Sex

Happy Valentine's DayToday is St. Valentine’ s Day and I am not quite sure how to feel about Valentine’s Day. I have never been sure. On the 14th of February, it does not seem to matter which way you turn. There is no escaping the red roses, pink hearts and lip shaped chocolates. Well, today I was caught in one of those moments when I did not have much to do, and so I decided to write a list of every woman I have ever had sex with. Weird huh? Continue reading

What Are You Trusting God For?

Trust God*I could not make it to church today but tuning into one of those Sunday morning radio shows inspired me to write this post. The radio host asked a question, “What are you trusting God for?” and below is my answer* Continue reading

Happy New Year Guys!

2015 twenty fifteenHappy New Year everyone! God has been so good to us and we have crossed into another year. One of the things I love doing since I started blogging is picking out one word to focus on throughout the year. Last year’s word was “Excellence” and I have decided that my word for the year of 2015 is “smarter.”

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In An African Home

african home
Africa is a very unique continent with unique people. And I find it extremely interesting that no matter where African children grow up, they are pretty much raised up the same way. Most African parents raise their kids to survive the harsh conditions of life. We have an identity and below is an identity, I identify with. In an African home:

1. Your parents will seldom admit they are wrong. And if they do, you will be too stunned to actually believe it. Like mummy, did you just say you found your money and I am actually innocent of your accusations?

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Ungrateful Bitch

Cheating Is A ChoicePardon me if you feel the heat that I am feeling in this post. My temper is so f*******g high at the moment and I am not really thinking straight. I am now sat this evening wanting revenge. And the revenge will come. We will not be walked over and treated like this.

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Should The Government Subsidize Fuel Prices? #GuestPost

A fuel shortage queuePetroleum products have become a major part of our everyday lives as humans. In as much as it is, it has become a necessity in our lives, coupled with its sky rocketing prices which tends to burden major economies all around the world hence government subsidies.

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Its My Birthday- I Can Chill If I Want To

Happy Birthday

8th Nov, 199*. Out of a womb. Emergency Room. The woman that I was inside, carries me and looks me in the eyes. A child born into the world with purity. A mother’s love and a father’s insecurity. He was a child who dreamt of playing in the skies. Instead, he became everything different. He travels by feet in small steps and moves, moves so his legs may learn to take a leap. Because if he can, perhaps his limbs will turn into wings and let him fly. That boy wants to jump and touch the sky. But he can only dream.

I am 21 years old today. Another year adding up to my ever-growing life count. Twenty one years old includes being almost broke and having to deal with arrogant souls. It is the age of meeting new friends, replacing the bad ones, going into and coming out of bad relationships and moving forward. But then a lot of beautiful things also happened throughout the year – like learning new skills, conquering milestones, and learning how to react maturely to silly situations.

God has been so good to me and I must say the good things outweigh the bad. And because the human mind can forget things, I have listed the top things I have learn’t prior to age 21.

1. God
God is real and over the years, I have felt His Power and heard His Voice. Call me insane but there will always be trials and doubts, but if God leads us, the trials and temptations will not break us and the doubts will fade.

2. Good Friends
When troubles come, a good friend they say is worth more than a million dollars. Know your true friends and never let them go but then of course, delete the fake friends- they are nothing but enemies of progress. They stunt your growth and steal your success.

3. Apologize/ Apologies
I have learnt that saying ” I am sorry” and meaning it covers all wrongs. Don’t drag issues. Just apologize even when you are the victim. Many wars have been fought because it was too hard to say “I am sorry”. When wrong or even wronged- please apologize

4. Shutting Up
You can not hear if you are always too busy speaking. Listen and learn. It is a golden lesson. Trust me, when you listen, you will surprised at the ideas you can get from the other party’s speech.

5. Respect
Be polite and courteous to everyone. It does not cost nothing to use the word “Please” or “Thank You” Talk with people with respect and earn their respect.

6. Let Go
He who lives, lives to fight another day. All your battles must not be won on one day. Take a step back and change your strategy. That is why, when you hurt me- I don’t react immediately. My reaction may even take years but its worth the wait. Don’t always rush to defeat the enemy. Revenge is sweetest when it waits.

7. Share
I have met people who do not share. I don’t know where they are from, but that is a very bad attitude. Success is best enjoyed with successful people. The stage is big enough for more than one person. Don’t act all so knowledgeable, wise, strong etc etc. It is just pure deception to think you have it all. No! You don’t!

8: Role Models/ Mentors
They are very important. Find someone you really want to end up like. Someone who you admire for their achievements, character. Learn from them. You will become a better person that way. And when you become a role model yourself, Pass on what you know to others. Don’t be selfish.

9. Pain
Sometimes its actually good to cry. Let the pain out. Mourn the people you lose to death. Don’t keep the pain inside. It is a slow poison. Sometimes when I want to cry, I just cry. Its normal and I heal faster.

10. Laugh
Laughter. My thing. I laugh. I laugh even at myself. I laugh with my friends. I tease. I prank. I say nonfa things all the time. Yes. Life is fun, you don’t have to frown. Smile. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

11. As much as we seek the good in people, we also choose ones with the most tolerable evil. Because no matter how many the good qualities are, negativity bias persists (that is the tendency of the mind to retain more bad memories over the good ones).

12. Learn hard
Knowledge is in people. Knowledge is in books. Learn hard. Learn and become an intellect, so that when you open your mouth to speak, people will marvel. Make it a personal goal to learn something new everyday. Read more books

13: Celebrate
Celebrate life with your friends and family. Let people never doubt you. Celebrate your accomplishments, awards and achievements. They are stepping stones for greater successes. Thank God for them.

14: Sacrifice
You will never have it easy. No person can serve two masters at the same time. It is either your books now and parties later, or parties now and your books later. We know ourselves. We don’t have to pretend. The only way to serve two masters is to serve them in shifts or cycles.

15: Forgive
Don’t hold grudges against people, but please don’t let a Snake back into your life. Forgive- True! but don’t make the same mistake twice. If someone does not have your best interests, just say hello but you can not come into my house.

16. Truth
The truth is better than lies. But sometimes though, you have to lie (important)- not everyone deserves to know the truth about you and that is the TRUTH! People talk too much, so just SHUT THEM UP! but LIES though are like fixing a leaking pipe with cello tape, you have to keep plastering and plastering till the whole pipe bursts, so as much as possible, PLEASE BE TRUTHFUL! TRUTH SETS YOU FREE!

17: Passion
I have a passion. Yes! and I know you do too. Work at your passion. Passion is unshakable. Let nobody kill your VIM, because when the vim is gone, you are nothing. Let them talk, say whatever they like, criticize both positively and negatively but please, don’t let them kill your vibe.

18: Me
After all the is said and done, after all the applause and insults- It comes down to one human being. Me. One human being repping my team and that is me. Take care of you spiritually, mentally, physically.

19. Follow
To be a good leader, you have to learn how to follow. When placed under somebody, be the best you can be and learn to respect authority. No excuses.

20: Help
Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be proud. Jesus had help carrying his cross, on his way to Calvary. Let yourself be used by the right people. They’ll pull you up with them as they climb.

21. Envy
Try not to envy other people. They are as human as you are who works hard enough and gets lonely.

22. Love
As much as we think we were destroyed by our first love, know that young and raw as we were, we had also unconsciously torched them.

23. Ready
No matter what effort you give into the relationship, you will never be good enough for a partner who is not ready. Keep that in mind.

24. Remember
As funny as it may sound, I forgive but I never, ever forget. Yes. Never forget those you said you were just a joker and you would amount to nothing. You use your talents, your dreams, inspiration to climb that mountain in THEIR FACES! When you get to the top- invite them to SHARE YOUR VICTORY but never ever forget WHO THEY REALLY ARE!

25. Try not to let your parents witness your heartbreaks and sad moments. It breaks their hearts more. Always.

26. Responsibility
You become more responsible when you also learn to blame yourself.