One of the most pivotal and life changing lessons I have learned in coaching and as a coach is about stories.
The stories that we tell ourselves can both help us and also hinder us.
Often, we are unaware that we are telling ourselves a story.
Especially during challenging times, we make sense of our pain through the stories we tell ourselves.
The stories we tell ourselves can be used by our subconscious mind as a protective measure in order to keep us safe or “in a trance”, so to speak, especially when the life we are living isn’t quite working out the way we wanted, hoped for or planned.
When the life we are living is different from what we expected it to be, the stories we tell ourselves can act somewhere between a soothing tool or a haunting nightmare.
These stories can seem like a consoling cocoon– or it can be more like protective armor, seemingly guarding us from a larger truth/reality/belief that we may not be quite ready to face.
In the coaching I have received, I have been able to see the stories I told myself more clearly for what they are-at times a cocoon, at other times, armor, but nearly all the time, the stories I told myself, kept me “in line”, kept me appeasing other people, kept me from really knowing who I am and more importantly, what I am really capable of.
Now, I can see this played out in the lives of the people that I coach. Nothing is more rewarding than that moment when a client wakes up a little bit more to the old narratives that is keeping them from the outcomes they want. There is a moment of awakening when they “get it” and that’s when things begin to really shift and change.
Believing that we are capable of so much more is a scary and, on some levels, even a dangerous thought.
Knowing that we are capable of more puts us at risk of missteps, failures and getting hurt, so sometimes (often) the stories we tell ourselves keep us from that extra pain, even if that pain is the very element that can lead to breakthroughs and more of the life we really want.
For most of my dating relationship and my marriage, I told myself that my now ex-husband was my “rescuer” and my “protector.” These labels served me during times when I saw myself as a victim of abuse. He rescued me from the hands and influence of others who had a certain level of control over me. He rescued me from the small-town life I thought I was destined to live (not that there’s anything wrong with living in a small town…again…this was a story I told myself).
Because I saw him as my rescuer and my protector, I elevated him, while diminishing myself to a lesser role.
He rescued me because I didn’t know I could rescue myself.
For most of my life, I didn’t have the structure for that rescue story-the story that I could save myself.
For most of my life, I didn’t have the kind of support necessary-someone who could help me identify the flaws in my story and help me craft a narrative that made me the heroine of my own story.
Stories are powerful.
They have the power to diminish, to control, to manipulate, and they have the power to elevate, to empower and to embolden.
Here’s the thing: Often we are so “in” our story, so…”in-a-trance” that we cannot see that our story isn’t serving us.
Often we are so “in a trance” in our story, that we have no idea we are in a trance at all…until, we begin to wake up.
As I walked away from the controlling and manipulative church I was a part of,
as I healed from the pain of my divorce,
as I acknowledged my sexuality and came out,
as I reflected on my childhood,
my unmet dreams,
I began to wake up from my trance.
I was able, with help, to see the stories I told myself AND to see more clearly the parts of my story that I was ignoring or not even aware of.
Those eliminated or unrecognized parts of my story helped me to widen the lens of my fuller story and rewrite myself as the author and heroine of my own story.
Of course, that story is still in process, but I like where it’s going.
Check out this song by Michelle Ponder, called “So Long.”
Saying “so long” to our fears and to our old stories is a powerful thing. Of course, it’s not as easy as actually saying, “So long.”
It’s full of challenge, and in my experience, it’s also full of pain.
It usually takes a significant amount of time (although perhaps not as long as you might expect!) and it takes really great support; however, when we get to that place–that place of seeing how our lackluster, less-than-complete or even untrue story is no longer truly serving us–man, it’s an amazing feeling.
Well, at first it might hit more like a gut-punch, but then…when the rewriting begins, it’s amazing
What do you think? Want to know more? Start Here. If you’d like to talk about your story or stories and get support to fully own your life, reach out. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text me at (612)463.1606.