When patients come in for their appointments I usually ask them “how are you today?” Or “what’s new?” I’m not just being polite. I’m listening to their responses and “reading between the lines”. Tuesday morning this past week, I heard many responses and what most of them had in common was that they were stories.
“I’m not good at making friends.”
“I’m trying to get rid of old emotions and other ‘stuff’.”
“I have this pain because I have arthritis.”
There seems to be a gift in stories, in that a story can help us derive meaning from our experiences as well as providing some perspective. The problem with stories is when a story doesn’t serve us anymore. A story can become like a pair of glasses that we started using and now those glasses distort our vision.
A story may have helped protect us when we were little. For example, many children will take on blame for their parents splitting up. Another example might be where we felt such pressure to achieve and perform that we told ourselves that we’re actually stupid. This way we could insulate ourselves from the pressure by not expecting much of ourselves.
Again, the problem with stories is that they may help us for a while but at some point, they start to be a hindrance. When this happens we can experience symptoms such as pain, low energy, or depression.
Dr. Joe Dispenza explains this really well when he talks about how what’s meant to be a short term survival strategy becomes embedded in the subconscious. We end up ‘practicing’ this strategy day after day, as it becomes a mood and finally, it changes into a part of our personality. So we end up thinking that we are a certain way. The truth of the matter is that certain parts of ourselves are not really who we are. They are just very well practiced stories.
It’s like an actor who gets into the role so deep, that they can’t distinguish themselves from the role.
So when life upsets your apple cart, when life brings turmoil, uncertainty or pain, it is actually an opportunity to take a look at the stories that are running your life. When life is going smoothly, you feel like yourself. When you start to feel not like yourself, this is when the nervous system becomes untethered and malleable.
Take a step back from your daily life and ask yourself, “what stories do I want to be telling my subconscious mind day-in-day-out?” The quality of the story determines what shows up in your life. Stories are the fabric upon which we create our lives.