I recently heard the following story of a tiger who spent years in a zoo. Its habitat was tiny, about the size of a modest living room. Eventually, the staff at the zoo found a comparatively enormous space for the tiger to live, some three or four acres.
When the tiger was relocated, it feared this new space, and retreated to a corner of its new home. It paced around this patch of its new world, wearing out the grass in exactly the same square footage as its previous habitat. It had internalized the bounds of its captivity.
Our minds can learn a similar captivity as we rehearse and grasp onto limiting narratives. New relationships go unexplored. New worlds remain undiscovered. We are capable of binding the potential expansiveness of our lives.