What defines you? Your past? Your present? Your future ambition?
For those of us who have had a rough start in life with our families, we can sometimes fall into a trap of being defined by what happened to us. We grow up into adults with a story – and yes, while that’s the case for everyone – some of us stay a little stuck in one story. We don’t necessarily grow out of a story, we don’t move on to a new one.
What I find is that those of us who haven’t yet “processed”, “resolved”, “come to terms with” our story, have a tendency to find ourselves trapped. We recycle the same narrative, same thoughts, same feelings that we have been with since our childhood. Some traumas take a long time to work through.
And there’s the key maybe… the working through of our past. If you have been holding on to a story for too long, what is holding you back from working it through? From moving on? What would it take to create a story of healing?
Our stories will always be a part of us. Nothing will ever change the fact that my mother was an alcoholic. No amount of therapy will make that story different, or make it go away. But the space it takes up in my daily life has changed dramatically from when I was in my twenties and thirties for example. And this is key … we are not in therapy to “get rid of” our stories. This will never happen. The goal of therapy is to learn to live with your story in such a way that it is no longer in the fore ground, that it no longer is the driver of my decision making, of my mood states, of how I view my life.
I sometimes use a cushion in my office to demonstrate this: we either have that cushion over the front of our face, obliterating our view, making it tough to breath… or we can have it tucked under our arm, with us, but not impeding our growth and wellbeing.
Changing your story to include the present will force you to acknowledge your strength, it will force you to acknowledge that NOW is not the same as THEN, it will force you to acknowledge that you are not the child that suffered what s/he suffered those years ago. You are a strong, capable adult. You can make decisions that support growth, that change the course of your life, that use the intention of looking forward as a way to a new story.
It doesn’t always have to start with “Once upon a time… “, it can also start with “Today I rise and am strong… “, “Today I choose my direction”.
Today I will author my story, because I can.
Peace to you.