Every experience that we have creates a story within our life. Each one of these stories has the possibility of traveling with us - when we don't take the time to process them, move through them, and let them go.
When we hold onto a story, that story can become intertwined with our identity.
If you have dabbled in the self-help space, you are likely at least aware of some stories you are traveling with. Being aware is definitely the first step in any growth practice.
One way to become aware of your stories is to reflect on your answers when someone asks you about who you are, how you got to where you are, and your life experiences. What are the repeated themes you talk about?
As you reflect on these themes, please know that what impacted you as a child is significant - even when your adult mind "knows better".
The stories that stick with us are the ones that affected us at the time they happened. This means that something seemingly insignificant when you reflect back on it, might actually hold a lot of pain or trauma because of how it impacted the you who experienced it in the moment.
Yes, there is a difference between the overall events of our life, and those stories our identity becomes intertwined with.
The events that have happened in your life, have happened, there is no emotional charge that is associated with them. They may be happy, they may be sad. You can talk about them and remember them, but there isn't that "holding on" of the emotions associated with them.
Events that have become stories that are now intertwined with your identity hold an emotional charge. You may react when someone comments on them, or a theme that is encapsulated within one.
They may also be held somewhere within your body. Or they may be the attachment you have to an injury or pain. Chronic pain can definitely be one of these stories.
As I mentioned above, the first step is to notice the stories and themes that are playing out on repeat in your life.
The next step is to take a look at them and ask yourself, or the you who experienced the trauma, what needs to be said.
From there, take a moment to honour the you who was hurt and the story for its intention to protect you. Then, give yourself permission to start to release it. Some experiences may be released easily and others may be a process of opportunities to release and untangle.
Finally, take a look at what you want instead. What would serve you now?
Until you become aware of these intertwined stories, they will continue to run on repeat. Once you become aware of them, you can begin the process of releasing them. And, this is a process. Be patience and gentle with yourself as you move through the practice of releasing these intertwined stories and begin to consciously create the life you desire.