Sitting at my desk, I looked up and caught the most beautiful dark haired little girl moving slowly down the sidewalk, lost in her own thoughts. She wore a white crinoline dress that swayed like a bell each time her tiny feet took a step. And then she stopped, dropped her mother’s hand and stood right in front of the open church doors, mesmerized by something. It was a profound moment. In less than five seconds I saw the entire Disney story, a tiny, five-year old looking like a bride 20 years too early.
It made me wonder. How the heck do we get from that place of utter confidence that our lives, our marriages will be the ones that go on “happily ever after” – to – “I can’t live this way anymore”?
Raised on Cinderella? - lost in Cinderella’s story? Your story is so much more exciting. And d*%#, someone stole your glass slipper? Am I right?
Here’s a fun way to see how much of C’s story you want to keep and how much you might want to feed to the fire breathing dragon (not pointing any fingers, he/it can be anyone you imagine – smile)
Take out a sheet of paper. Yep, this is all old school, like the fairy tales, right? Now write down what you believe your life story to be in the next 15 minutes. Whatever it is, however you see yourself, your world, write it down.
You can set a timer for 15 minutes. If that is too long, do 10. Write non-stop till the timer goes off, and then stop, right where you are.
Go through and circle every sentence, word or phrase that is anything less than a stellar review of your fabulousness. Put a big, capital ‘T’ at the top of a page.
The ‘T’ stands for thoughts. You have just written down how you see yourself and pulled out every negative thing you tell yourself about you, every single day, probably dozens of times, if not more.
Look at the thoughts you circled. And then make a list of how those thoughts in your own hand make you feel.
Put a big capital ‘F’ next to it for feelings.
Now, set a timer again for 15 minutes and this time (yep, that pen and paper thing again) spend 15 minutes describing your ideal life – don’t hold back, let it all out. When the timer goes off – stop. Now go back and circle the positive things in your story.
How do they make you feel?
Here’s a little secret:
Our brain does not know the difference whether we tell it the truth or a fantasy. Now, don’t get me wrong, it has to believe the fantasy. And that is our problem.
Because we believe the bad things, but not the good things.
We hold on to the mistakes, missteps, regrets, blame, anger, etc.
But we let go of the dreams, the hopes, the joys and the possibilities.
Both stories are true. If you wrote a story about you and your ideal life/day it is because somewhere deep inside this is the longing of your heart. It most likely means that you have the skills, talents and ability to make it real. It is just a matter of practicing those thoughts that bring up good feelings for us, often enough (perhaps in a ladder step sort of way through a process we call neutralizing thoughts – more on that another time) until they are as believable for you as the current life you wrote down.
Read back over your stories.
Which one do you want most to hold onto?
PS. If you are ready to let go of that painful story and write a new fairytale, let’s talk!