The First Step to Solving a Problem, Is Naming the Problem

Dear Expansioneer,

Please receive this when I tell you:

YOU are NOT the problem.

You’re not.

I promise.

Cross my heart.

See, there are systems in place in our society that are designed specifically to make us fail, to make us feel small, to make us feel lazy, to make us feel less-than. This work is not about fixing “what’s broken inside you.” It’s about naming the systems that have caused harm and have indoctrinated their false narratives upon us.

This is step one.

And it can also be step 8.  And step 17.

Like the spiral in the center, we come back around to each practice multiple times in our journey, not to the exact same place, because we’re different. Many times we have new wisdom to mine once we’ve done the work needed to recognize that wisdom when we see it!

Once we’ve identified these bullying beliefs, we can get rid of them. They don’t actually belong to us so we don’t need to keep them around anymore. Some people call this a mindset shift.

Jennifer Alumbaugh, MS

Four Acts of Deconstructing False Narrative

  • Identify Bullying Beliefs
  • Reject and Release Imposed Identities
  • Dismantle Systemic Binaries
  • Find and Ground in your Truth

These are not mutually exclusive and in fact often interact and intersect with each other.

Let’s look at some examples of Bullying Beliefs:

  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “Ugh, I’m the worst, I didn’t get anything done today”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “I feel like an imposter”
  • “I’m so lazy, I called in to work sick with Covid and all I did was lay around in bed all day”
  • “I’m a bad parent; I just got the kids fast food for dinner because I’m so exhausted”
  • “I’m such a mess, I can’t even keep up with the mail”

Any of these sound familiar? Have you ever had any of these thoughts?

I know I have!

These kinds of thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are not an accurate representation of who we are. They are part of the false narratives we are fed to believe by way of media, marketing, toxic religious messaging, toxic positivity, social media influencers, etc. And behind all of them is capitalism, and patriarchy, and racism, and white supremacy. Yeah. Those lying liars!

When I’m working with clients, part of my role is to hold up a mirror, a true mirror, so they can see their actual reflection…not those wobbly distortions of carnival fun house mirrors that the world shows us.

Once we’ve identified these bullying beliefs, we can get rid of them. They don’t actually belong to us so we don’t need to keep them around anymore. Some people call this a mindset shift.


One of my favorite exercises to do with clients is the Reject and Release Imposed Identities. There are so many ways that identities get put upon us without our consent–from gender to career to assumptions about our motives and decisions other people make about us as a result of their own imposed identities.

When a client stands up (literally and/or figuratively) and out loud rejects these parts that never belonged to them in the first place, I get chills. I get to witness and be in awe and that is one of the many reasons why I do what I do! It’s so empowering for clients to do this exercise, it invigorates the other parts of the work we do together.

Sometimes along with that or on it’s own, we Dismantle Systemic Binaries.

Now I know many people are used to hearing binaries associated only with gender, but binaries limit us across so many areas of life!

Good or bad.

Lazy or productive.

Happy or sad.

Calm or upset.

Woman or man.

Young or old.

In or out.

Cold or warm.

Either/ors are so very limiting. Too limiting for the magnificent complexity of the human experience! We are expansive beings who can be and feel and think and become so many glorious things all at once!


Our final step in Deconstructing False Narratives is to Find and Ground in Our Truth.

What does this mean, exactly?

Well kind of like in a remodel of a building, once all the old, rotted out, unreliable sections are gutted, the builder finds the beams that are true, that will hold weight, that will carry the rest of the building.

Similarly, once we have gotten rid of all the untrustworthy beliefs we’ve been schlepping around with us, we can finally see clearly what truth remains and is solid foundation for us to ground in.

So, “I’m so lazy,” becomes, “I honor my body’s need for rest.”

“I guess I’m a bitch because I said No,” becomes, “I advocate for myself with the boundaries I need to stay present”

“I’m a bad parent,” becomes, “When I get the kids take-out, I have more energy to play with them and do bedtime routine.”

This is what finding and grounding in our truth can look like. And when we continue our work from a place of being grounded in our truth, we have so much more agency, energy, and self-compassion moving forward.

Ready to Bust some Bullying Beliefs?

If you’ve been wanting to strengthen your boundary-making muscles, I have THREE different opportunities for you to dive in!

If you’d like to talk with Jennifer about any of these or other opportunities click button to schedule a FREE 20min curiosity call.