Continuing with this 30-day book challenge about The Voice of Your Dreams, I want to share with you how one concept of this book has helped me transform my story. By story I mean, the story that our mind keeps repeating and reinforcing itself as to who we are or why we act like we do.
We all have a story in our heads that probably started as a child, which has been either evolving through adulthood for some people or being repeated with almost no change for others.
The critical point that this book pointed out for me is whether our story is an empowering one or if it serves as an excuse not to do the things we really want to do or be the person we really want to be, keeping us safe in our comfort zone.
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. Tom Robbins
I didn’t need to think long about it. I’ve had a story in my mind repeating itself since I was nine or ten years old. And it was not an empowering one!
So when I read in the book that we all have the power to choose what kind of story we keep telling ourselves, it opened my mind to a new possibility: writing a new story. Not lying or changing the facts, but changing the perspective on how I look at the things that happened in the past or how I perceived them.
For instance, from early on I’ve had (and still have) some health issues, so my story was that I had a weak body. With that mindset it’s no wonder that I kept having new health issues from now and then.
One plausible argument reinforcing that belief was the fact that I wasn’t breastfed (because breastfeeding my older brother hurt my mother so much and back then pediatricians said that formula milk was even better than breastmilk). So my mind thought, “if I don’t have the natural defenses supporting my body it’s normal that my body is weaker or not so well prepared for certain health issues.”
But after reading that chapter in the book mentioned above and giving some thought to this I realized that during my childhood -the first 7 or 8 years- I had lots of energy and I don’t recall having health issues. If the lack of breastmilk would have been so determinant to my health I would probably have started having health issues as a baby or toddler.
I also realized that what I thought was the signal of my weak body (recurrent colds) weren’t actually colds, but dust or pollen allergy.
15 years later I developed type I diabetes right before starting my professional career and another 10 years after that, gluten intolerance. Somehow it was even normal that I thought I had a weak body. But the thing is, having that belief it’s the very soil where new symptoms can grow and develop.
Time to change my story. As recommended by Aaron Anastasi I sat down one day and rewrote my story. This is my new story concerning health:
“Even though I was not given breast milk, I was a strong, healthy and energetic child during those first years of my life. Later in life my diabetes saved me from a professional path that did not inspire me and gave me a lot of willpower, discipline, made me (and my family) eat very healthy and encouraged me to continue to do sports, which I love.
My body shows me when something is not right for me or when there is something (emotional, intelectual or physical) that I have to fix. I thank my body for that and take care of it the best I can.”
As you can see, I didn’t lie, exaggerate or changed the facts. I just changed my perspective.
This is a much more empowering story. Now it’s time for me to repeat it over and over in order to make it stronger than my old story.
I did the same with the other categories in life. I’ve followed the same process to rewrite my story related to other issues I had concerning love relationships, career, moving to a new place as a kid, feeling lack of creativity…
Let go of who you WERE, so you can make room to become who you ARE. John Butcher
The process I followed is the following:
- I wrote down the issues that have been present in my mind for years, usually blocking thoughts, hurtful feelings, limiting beliefs, etc.
- Then I asked the question “is that an empowering story or a limiting one? Is this story limiting my progress in any area?
- If it was a limiting story, which usually are, I asked the following questions: “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?” and “is there another way to look at this that will empower me instead of limiting me? (you can reinforce this by answering the 4 questions from Byron Katie)
- When I came up with new ways to look at the issues I wrote them down on my journal under “My New Story”
I tell you, what a relief having a new story! Sometimes it feels like taking a huge weight off the shoulders. I would love to keep this feeling always with me, but life happens and sometimes I forget. That’s why it’s essential to repeat the story, read it several times a week. After all, it has to overwrite a story that has been engraved for years. Note to self: patience.
An alternative way (or something to complement this exercise) shared by Aaron Anastasi is to write 10 happy memories from your childhood and tell them and repeat them over and over when you are with friends, family, new acquaintances… You may end up having a happy childhood finally.
I would like to leave you with this inspiring 17-minute video by Eric Edmeades on how to have a happy childhood when you are already adult and master your state of being: