Throughout our lives, we carry innumerable stories with us.
When we were young we carried stories of who we thought we were, what our pasts were, and what we desired our futures to look like. When we grew older, we continued to carry many stories with us, stories that dictated what we thought about ourselves, how we viewed others, and how we perceived life in general.
In my case, the most common story I carried around with me for most of my life was: “My family is extremely religious. Their extremist beliefs limited my ability to make friends, try new things, and blossom into my true self. I was traumatized by their narrow, hateful way of seeing other people and I developed low self-esteem because of my inability to connect with them, and with others. Now I have a vulnerability and general anxiety issues.”
We all carry around some kind of tragic or wretched story with us. These stories – whether created about the past, the present, or the future – quagmire us in resentment, self-pity, prejudice, and anxiety.
The stories we carry around with us are often unconscious and are deeply ingrained into our psyche’s through years of habitual repetition. In other words: we make a habit of repeating stories to ourselves all throughout our lives.
But the truth is that most of the stories we carry around with us weigh down on us heavily; they completely limit our ability to experience a life of peace, gratitude, and joy. In this article we’ll explore how to identify any stories you may be lugging about and how to rewrite them as an act of self-liberation.
How to Identify the Stories You Drag Around
How do you know whether you are dragging around a poisonous story in your everyday life? Usually toxic stories manifest themselves as feelings; feelings of heaviness, feelings of sadness, feelings of regret, feelings of resentment, and feelings of unease.
Take some time now to settle into your body. Breathe slowly and calmly. How do you feel? Do you feel clean, placid and vibrant? Or are you feeling sluggish, tense, and weighed down?
Our stories are like leeches or parasites: they suck the vital energy needed to heal, to feel joyful, and at peace in our lives. Our stories, in essence, pollute the landscapes of our existence.
But they don’t have to. When we consciously choose to explore what tales we are unconsciously dragging around with us, we open the door to change, recovery, and freedom.
In order to begin the process of exploration, you must see that there are three different types of stories that can be told about the past, the present, or the future, these include:
- Stories about ourselves.
- Stories about other people.
- Stories about the world/life in general.
Let’s explore a few examples to better help you identify your own limiting stories.
Stories about ourselves can sound like the following: “I was bullied as a child and I’ll probably be bullied for the rest of my life.” “I suffer from depression and OCD. Because of that I’ll always be alone and never feel happy with my life.” “I’ve always been ugly and no matter how many times I date no one ever sticks around. I’ve got to make myself look better so that other people like me more.” “I’ve always felt shy in the past, so I’ll continue to feel shy for the rest of my life.” “I’ve never made the right choices in my life … I’ll always be a screw-up. There is no hope for me.”