Throw the Sob Story on the Slush Pile

crying womanThere are all kinds of things that detract us from accomplishing the things we want to do, gaining the success we desire, and even attempting the things we want to try. The worst and most insidious of these, I think, is our own sob story. We develop it and nurture it, then we bring it out as if to show people it's not our fault if we can't get off our butts and go for something that's important to us.

You know what I'm talking about. Those slights and injuries that others have inflicted on us. Parents, siblings, classmates, friends, spouses, life itself, and on and on. But the very worst are the bloody stigmata we carry around concerning our childhood. The need to cast blame holds us back more than anything else, yet we display these wounds to prove to ourselves and everyone just why we've failed, why we will continue to fail, and why we shouldn't even try.

It's always amazing to me how many successful and accomplished people rise up from nothing. Poverty, starvation, abuse, illness, and criticism only seem to fire their ambition and their self-esteem while the rest of us go on ancrying mand on about how our mommy did this, or our daddy didn't do that... Sure, bad things happen to us, but it's what we do with those things that makes us winners or losers. But some people just seem to have an instinct for turning bad circumstances into fuel for success. Their secret is the ability to truly let go of their injuries.

Hanging onto these things doesn't make us victims, it make us martyrs, and martyrdom is a powerfully passive-aggressive, manipulative control weapon. It holds other people hostage, making them accountable for what we are afraid to do ourselves. But worse, it keeps us believing that things that happened in the past have the power to hold us back in the present. It's an excuse and a cop-out, and it's lazy. Let's let people off the hook and do what we want to do with our lives. Let's not continue to die for their sins.

Steph Waller is an author and composer. Her novel, With A Dream, is available internationally in both paperback and for Kindle. Learn more at her book site.

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