Don’t be left behind.

This is a thought I probably have more often than I realize but the other day it hit me like a ton of bricks. If I’m being honest this is one of my greatest fears when I look at the relationships I have. I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t get invited or doesn’t keep up.

I probably spend more time than I’d like to admit on trying to keep up with all that is considered “cool”. And yet the fear lingers…

“Ashley, you’re going to be left behind.” “Ashley, you are not apart of them, so stop trying so hard.”
“Ashley, nobody wants to hang out with you.”

Ugh, just writing it, hurts my heart. These voices are so quiet because I’m sure they’ve been hanging around since childhood. But back then, I tried to ignore the noise but all I did was turn down the volume. The thoughts still were in my head, quietly whispering to me. And so I learned to perform for approval.

Approval of anyone who would show any kind of interest. I performed for any kind of acceptance, because I had to prove the voices in my head that I was good enough to be apart of something bigger than myself.

But this time, I heard it loud and clear, almost like a cry for help. “I feel like I’m being left behind.”

I stopped and questioned myself, what do I mean by that? Who says I’m being left behind? Where is this thought coming from?

I learned a few years ago that it was ok to question my own thoughts. That questioning them did not mean they did not exist, it just meant that I was curious to learning who I am and what I was thinking. Thoughts are thoughts… not always truths.

It’s ok to question them, that doesn’t mean they are right or wrong, good or bad… thoughts or like ideas, we throw them at a wall and see what sticks… the only difference here is that we get to choose what sticks.

So I challenged this thought, I questioned its “stickability”. What truth do I have backing up this thought as true? Do I want to believe in this, or can I throw this one thought out.

Something I didn’t realize I had power over until a few years back when I jumped back in to my personal growth journey. Thoughts are simply not facts. They may be ideas, or theory’s about what’s happening but not fact.

When I can separate the thought from the fact, I get to control the narrative. I can decide where the story goes from here. Me. And only me. Sure could I be influenced by others, absolutely but at the end of the day, no one can tell me how to live my story.

In these moments that the thoughts come, it can be challenging to change the narrative. It takes brain energy, but the more I do it, the easier it gets. Maybe you have a story that’s no longer serving you. Maybe you are telling a story that is holding you back from living your true self. I hope this quick read gives you some space to reflect on what you choose to believe in. I hope that you can start to shift the story from your greatest fears to your insurmountable strength.

So what’s the story I’m telling myself… “You’re not being left behind, you are following your own path.” “You have nothing to prove, only light to give.” And “You are worthy of great friendships.”