Have you ever wondered why certain experiences or circumstances keep repeating themselves in your life? With a recurrence so frequent that you have to stop yourself and ask, “why does this keep happening to me?” We all have experiences like this. Some more profound than others. Regardless, with the right curiosity we can attach these experiences to what I refer to as an old story.
We have many types of stories. Found memories of connections with loved ones, celebrations and achievements. And many not so kind memories of hurt, trauma, and failures. The old stories I’m talking about are ones that show up in our lives as the root of a constant complaint.
“Why does this keep happening to me?”
“Why don’t people understand me?”
“Why can’t others accept me for who I am?”
“Why do I keep making the same mistakes in the choice of relationships?”
“Will I ever be good enough?”
These old stories were likely born from a trauma, a hurt or conditioning that took place in our early lives. And have become an integral part of who we believe ourselves to be. Now, we don’t see them as an old stories. As they’ve become blind spots in our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. In other words, we’ve become so accustomed to carrying our stories, as a universal truth about ourselves, that they’ve manifested their way in every aspect of our lives to a point it no longer resembles the original story. I call this the onion effect.
The Manifestation of Our Old Stories
If we go about our days as usual, our old stories will creep into every aspect of our lives. Holding us to our past while anticipating the worst to come. Creating that sense of groundhog day. We actually unconsciously will create situations in which we prove the beliefs that have taken root in these old stories to be true. We project them into the future. Ensure they arise in the present. And reaffirm them in reflection with, “There it is again!” Some would call this a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don’t even know we’re doing it. Deep down inside it validates our beliefs – true or not – about ourselves and the feelings and perceptions people may or may not have about us.
Do Our Stories Serve a Purpose?
Why do we carry old stories like we do? There must be a reason. The one I’ve come to learn is that our old stories as with all of our stories; first, reminds us of what worked or didn’t work in our past or forewarns us of potential danger in our future using relatable experiences and two, they reaffirm the beliefs we have of ourselves and others so the world continues to make sense.
To go to a step further, I would like to believe that these old stories can give us access to an understanding of who we are that without them we wouldn’t go on our own. It’s the spark to the flame. The driver towards a deeper learning of our own human beingness. A means to heal from the early trauma. This can be a worrisome proposition as our blind spots come to life, so to the falsehood of some of the beliefs we’ve been carrying for so long. For a while the world will stop making sense until your truth is found.
Moving Past Our Old Stories
Moving past your old stories isn’t about making them wrong or pointing blame to the ones who helped create them for you. It lies in recognizing them for what they are without judgement or blame. It’s allowing yourself also to feel a sense of grief of the time spent investing in these stories. And practice curiosity and a self-awareness of the impact these stories may have in any aspect of your life.
I encourage people to:
- Write down those constant complaints you have in your life. Ask yourself or even a close friend if they could be rooted in an old story.
- Look at them with a sense of curiosity and non-judgement to understand what impact are they having on your life.
- Recognize what internal or external influences that may trigger your old stories and the beliefs and behaviours that come along with them.
- Write down in your journal what options you can learn to practice in the future.
- Act with purpose in the moment. So when something similar arises again, slow down and stay grounded in the present. See what’s occurring and make a conscious choice of how you want to respond.
- And remind yourself this is a part of your journey in learning your truth.
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