If were you going to write your autobiography, how would the outline go? You may have never thought about your life that way, but upon reflection, you may find that chapter after chapter might have similar titles.
Maybe something like “Safe in My Shell” or “Pleasing Everyone and Yet No one.” Of course, we are hugely nuanced beings, but are there overarching themes to many of our perspectives and behaviors? The roots often dig deep down into the subconscious.
As the reservoir for everything that has happened to us, our subconscious mind encompasses our inner child. As the seat of our mental patterns and emotions, this vulnerable inner child is particularly sensitive to self-limiting beliefs (even if we’re now adults). For better or worse, the seeds of our personal stories were often planted long ago.
Scripting Your Future
You may already be scripting a better present and future for yourself through improved direction of your thought process. And yet you may still find yourself revisiting limiting elements of your personal history. When you do, you can ask, “Is that who I still want to be? Is still how I want to define myself?”
Parts of yourself may have gotten stuck at certain points in the past – particularly moments that left a traumatic impact.
Perhaps a part of you developed fear about blossoming as fully as your creativity, imagination and inner strength can allow. There may be an urge to resist that growth. You could find yourself fearing that if you allow more good things to flow into your life, they may dry up again, leaving you feeling emptier than ever.
Releasing Old Fears
For example, one past client I helped had found a lot of her life story impeded by “Fear of Loss.” She had been raised by a Pentecostal pastor who instilled in his children the strong belief that they were sorry sinners unworthy of good.
Early experiences involving emotional and physical abuse led her to fear allowing joy into her life (including healthy romantic relationships). There was a part of her that believed that if she let in that good, it would only be taken away because she didn’t deserve it.
This was a sad story that she had grown comfortable retelling herself many times.
What was the possible benefit to her, you may ask? Well, it kept her safe – protected from taking a chance and having her trust violated as it had been so many times in her childhood.
Recognizing Self Sabotage
My client had continued to subconsciously self-sabotage potentially good relationships she’d attracted into her life. On some subconscious level, it likely seemed better to botch them early on than risk getting too attached and have God punish her again by yanking love away.
But she came to realize that it really wasn’t God’s hand at work. It was her own mind. She had created self-fulfilling prophecies and those almost inevitably become true, as we can begin allowing unbeneficial subconscious patterns to influence our behavior.
In this woman’s case, she began pushing men away before she could become too invested. Or she attracted incompatible people in the first place, as a result of her self-esteem issues.
Through Hypnosis and Intuitive Coaching, I guided her adult self to teach her inner child the lessons she really should have learned about deserving love and respect – and to start giving herself the love she’d always needed. It was heartening to hear of her progress.
Fear of Failure
For another client, an overarching them to life his story was “Fear of Failure.”
He had born with a natural inclination to be artistically creative, and he’d even been encouraged to engage his talents until college, when choosing a more traditional path to prosperity had begun to become a major issue for his highly controlling mother.
In determined, critical tones, she told him that that he’d never succeed supporting himself in an artistic field. That his goal was pure folly. That he just needed to go to law school like his Dad.
After graduating with honors in art from a good university, he did pursue part-time creative efforts in various media with some successful turns in terms of execution and exposure, but not yet at what was a sustainable income.
Echoes of the Past
He fought against the voice of the mother still echoing in his head about failure with a determination to prove her wrong. But ultimately, as he grew more bogged down by the realities of a regular office job, he gave in to those old self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.
Why even start something if it couldn’t quickly turn into something that would validate his past decision about art school and vindicate himself to his mother and family? Days of his life story had undoubtedly drifted by under the heading: “Why Even Bother?”
His self-limiting story was also a safety mechanism. It had grown more comfortable to think, ‘I’ve already tried it, and it’s pointless,” than pursue his passion, put his work out there, and risk rejection or disappointment.
He initially experienced some resistance to the idea that his shifting his thinking and beliefs could open doors. It was almost as if he were saying, “This is my story, and I’m sticking to it!”
Setting Realistic Expectations
An important part of scripting a satisfying life story for ourselves involves creating realistic expectations. That particular artistic client of mine had almost “All or Nothing” expectations of success without a lot of patience with the process of nurturing his dreams.
If we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to excel – or “Be Perfect” – too soon, we may limit our range of motion and emotion at exploring what we really want and need to feel fulfilled in our lives. This process of exploration can be greatly eased by releasing heavy expectations from our shoulders like “Overnight Success.”
To my artistic client, it was freeing to consider the question: “Are you aware that what you decide your life purpose is doesn’t have to be your full-time job yet?”
He later told me he’d framed an affirmation I gave to him: “Creating art is about feeling good in my present. It’s not about solving my past.” He said it helped him open a gateway for enjoying creativity for its own sake and fulfilling more of a chosen purpose.
We can have so many purposes in our life (so many subplots to the overall story) – from being a loyal family member and trusted friend to being a dedicated employee or a strong leader. It’s never limited to a single career path.
Letting Go of Limitations
There could be, as growing numbers believe, certain challenging situations or people that we’ve pre-selected ahead of this lifetime as part of a greater plan for personal development and the working out of karma.
But I don’t buy in to the self-limiting idea that we’re always predestined to stay stuck with situations or people that no longer serve us. We can edit characters out of our story and move on once we learn the lesson(s). And for just about everybody, I find that the ultimate life purpose is to learn to love yourself as much as possible.
By starting to speak to yourself with words of love and encouragement, you can begin stepping out of a self-limiting story in this very moment.
You may have found coping strategies for remaining comfortable in your “discomfort zone.” Perhaps with an underlying thought like: “I know what it’s like to feel stuck inside this box, but I’m not so sure it’s really safe to venture outside.”
Perhaps it’s time to take a single step today – just over the boundary to which you’ve confined the main character of your story (yourself!). You can start writing a brighter future for yourself through positive thoughts that led to motivating feelings to follow your bliss.
Addictive Emotional Connections
As you reflect and grow more aware of some your own personal storylines, which may or may not serve you, start noticing what emotions are associated with them. Our thoughts leads to emotions, and sometimes we can literally get hooked on certain feelings.
They can become habit-forming, helping to justify where we remain stuck (in the same old ruts of negative thoughts and feelings).
It’s possible that we can get “addicted” to certain stories about ourselves and the emotions they generate. Can you think of people you know who seem addicted to drama?
For example, for one long-time friend of mine, the seemingly addictive story brought about feelings of “outrage.” She could get there quickly when interacting with her older sister, who doesn’t possess the emotional range to see far beyond her own selfish interests. My friend had never felt understand or supported by this sibling, and it was maddening to her.
As they both moved into their 50s, it became increasingly unlikely that the older sister was going to suddenly going to wake up one day and realize, “Wow! I should really pull more weight in the family and be more respectful.”
Finally, my friend recognized that in expecting more out of her sister than was realistic, she was living out the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
For years, when my friend would recount stories of her sister’s latest insensitive acts, she would sound as outraged as if that type of situation were happening for the first time. “Can you believe it?!”
Eventually I started gently telling her things like: “Actually, I do believe it. Isn’t that how she usually acts? I’m wondering why you’re still so surprised. You have so many other friends you can look to for support besides your sister.”
Upon reflection, my friend realized that these eruptions of outrage were affecting other parts of life – being consistently outraged by the actions of poor managers or coworkers, for example. Underneath that outrage seemed to be a storyline of, “I Can’t Believe How Much People Misunderstand and Mistreat Me!”
Shifting Your Focus
When we get in the habit of expecting certain results – and move into that energetic vibration through our emotions – we can attract more of what we don’t consciously really want. The more energy you might expend on feeling outraged, the more infuriating situations you might find yourself in, for example.
I encourage everyone to keep in mind the saying “What we focus on flourishes.” So you can start today in honing your focus on what you really want in your life. With the words you say to yourself in each of your present moments, stay focused on the positive story lines.
As you keep in mind the saying that, “Where the attention goes, the energy flows,” you can begin crafting a happy “beginning” to the rest of your journey (your life story).
Copyright, 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center