Rewrite Your Story As A Hero’s Quest
Here is one powerful way to heal any pain from the past that is still holding you back today. Re-write your story.
Memories. We all know that no 2 witnesses can agree as to exactly what happened at a crime scene or a traffic accident that happened TODAY. How could we possibly accurately remember our lives in the past? We remember bits and pieces and those not necessarily accurately – we remember how we felt. How we felt depended on our interpretation of what happened, seen through the eyes of the less experienced person we were back then – and often through the eyes of pain. Now, years later, we can be triggered by current events to re-live the pain of the past or to respond from the defenses we used then – until we have found a way to heal the memory.
A little something on how your brain works. Our brains are hard-wired to hyper-focus on anything that could be a danger to our well-being. It’s a self-protective mechanism. It’s meant to automatically keep us from burning our hand on the stove a second time. The more painful the experience, the more strongly the brain holds on to it. “Watch Out!”
So this mechanism may be nice for automatically avoiding hot stoves (we sure don’t want to have to think that one through step by step each time) but it doesn’t serve us well in everyday life – especially when it automatically stresses us out and holds us back from reaching our full potential. Even when we have buried the memory, that crafty old lizard brain keeps it on its list and sends us garbled warnings (anxiety attacks, sensory overloads, oh my).
When you understand this, it is easier to take charge and over-ride and calm the anxiety the brain is sending out. One way to do that is to go back and look at the same experience through different eyes. Your goal is to tell that inner defender that you’ve got this and it can cross this one off the list!
Whatever happened in your past, here you are now, strong and resilient. Blessed be. You might disagree about strong, but I know you are because you are HERE.
Yet possibly there’s a something from your past that triggers pain in you – fear, anger, sadness – and it isn’t serving you well. For me it can be occasional unfocused sadness breaking through when I first wake up.
You are a hero! YOU. You are YOUR Hero! Think of your story as a Hero’s journey, a Quest!!! A Quest for Freedom from the bondage of the past. A Quest for happiness, peace of mind and purpose. The next time that “something” comes up, notice, really appreciate, the awesome strength and ingenuity you have always had inside, even when you were young, despite what was happening, maybe even BECAUSE of what was happening.
Picture yourself questing through obstacles and misadventures just like any other hero does and use this story as a foundation for a new self-concept. HERO! Look in the mirror and say it…”I am a HERO!” People your story by noticing the roles various people played in your quest.
I’m a fantasy fan so I suppose you encountered vicious dragons and ugly trolls, metaphors for your painful experiences. I mean the dragon is protecting the prize, right? You might have even lost a metaphorical arm in battle, but you made it through didn’t you? Indiana Jones and Wonder Woman have nothing on you!
And you encountered elves and dwarves who came to your rescue, or at least to your side. For me it was a grandmother at one point (she would have to be a strong, loving queen dwarf), a roommate at another (definitely an elf), loving friends at another. I treasure them.
And of course you made mistakes –after all, yours is a coming-of-age story – and you were responding to life through battle-wounded eyes so you might have been clumsy, but you made it through anyway didn’t you? Cue the “fanfare.”
Look at your life through the eyes of that strong little boy or girl who was clever enough to find ways to survive and become YOU.
Remember everything you can about the astounding story of your strength, your resilience, your creativity, your genius in meeting every challenge and give yourself a pat on the back. Bet you didn’t know you were a hero did you? You ROCK! Congratulations! You should give yourself a medal.
“No mud, no lotus.” Buddha We have all had difficult times in our past. It’s a requirement for living on this planet and maturing spiritually. Overcoming difficult challenges is actually how you become strong. It’s how you discover your gifts and talents, find your purpose and eventually your Inner Light.
You make a big mistake if you make your story about being wounded and stop there instead of about the courage and genius it took to build the beautiful, strong, resilient person you are today as a result of all the battles you have won.
So, what shall it be? Conquering Hero or Wounded Victim? I know there are other choices, just humor me. This is a blog post not a book.
I’d love it if you told us your story.