Here’s a quick way to change your mind (and lighten the load)Mar 02, 2023
In a recent coaching session, I was reminded about how easy it can be to shift something that nags at and colors your sense of identity, the lens through which you see, and therefore impacts the decisions you make.
You can change your story.
My parents didn’t love me. They were harsh and more concerned about whether or not I was going to embarrass them. What I was interested in, or whether or not I was happy, was totally irrelevant. The only thing that was important was that I met my responsibilities as a good, Asian, first child and daughter.
The truth is, that’s how I experienced it. I can go on about the legitimacy of my charge, and I have the full backing of cultural stereotyping to support the truth of my experience. But it doesn’t make it factual. Which means that changing my story wouldn’t turn truth into fiction...
My parents loved me. So much that they wanted to do whatever was in their power to ensure my success in life (including moving to the U.S.), and part of that was that our community, and society, accepted me as a good person.
Whether or not I agreed with their parenting style is not in question here. It’s that they loved me and wanted the best for me in accordance with how they understood that to mean. Anything beyond that would be me not wanting to let this go.
The old story did serve me in that it caused me to put conscious effort into knowing what I valued in parenting and how I wanted to show up for my kids. But then it hurt me because it carried with it a story that I wasn’t ever good enough, and it subconsciously impacted everything I did. So I took the good from it, and I changed the story. I realize now that the “new” story is actually more true. This doesn’t dismiss my childhood experience; in fact I give it all the credit for helping me become the parent that I wanted to be.
This exercise is powerful. Changing the burdens from your past in this way allows you to honor the strength of your experience, and at the same time empower you to change the story that holds you back with the many messages that come with it. If you recite the new story enough times, it even has the power to shift the memory of the experience you had….
The mind is crazy that way.
You can do it in the present moment too.
Your experiences are colored by your mental state, energy level, what just happened before this thing happened, and so on. So it may not necessarily align with the actual truth of what is happening. The other person who you might think is responsible for the experience is probably doing their best to survive. And by that, I mean whatever it means to them. Someone recently said that when she has to let someone go (as in fire them), it feels like she’s going to die. How a person works through that survival mode will be dependent on many things, including how well they're practiced at it, their experiences with it, their current emotional and mental bandwidth, and general sense of security, amongst other things. This may not give them a pass should they behave badly, but it also means that you can change the story to help you move on.
P.S. Spring is just around the corner, and it carries with it the energy of rebirth, refresh, renew. It is the creative part in the cycle of life. This is an excellent exercise to start as a part of your Spring renewal, a part of your cleanse/detox of sorts. Take the next minute or two to come up with a story you carry and turn it upside down. Yes, change it. Feel free to hit reply and share. Because sharing is bold and it’s the connective tissue that keeps us alive and together.