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Ep #60

The Stories We Hold On To

Tell me if the following sounds familiar to you. Someone pays you a compliment and you don’t believe them. But, when someone criticizes something you’ve done, you believe them right away. You believe a story your brain has been recycling for years.  

At one time or another, the stories we believe about ourselves serve to protect us and keep us safe. But, if you’re like me, you might just find that these old belief patterns are actually holding you back from loving yourself the way you deserve.

Listen in today, Renegades, to find out why the stories your brain has on repeat might not be your truth anymore. This experience of seeing my stories for what they are is what brought me home, and what let me finally start writing new ones. In this episode, I’m sharing how you can also examine your stories and decide if you want to keep holding onto them or finally let them go. 

What You Will Discover:

  • Why our brains make up stories.
  • How your thoughts aren’t necessarily facts.
  • The suffering holding on to these stories causes.
  • How I learned to process my emotions.
  • How to break the cycle of the stories you want to let go of.

Resources Mentioned:

  • If you’re enjoying the tools and concepts I’m sharing each week about your brain on dating, you won’t want to miss out on working with me one-on-one. I’ve just launched my program, Wake Up Before Another Breakup, where in just 8 weeks, you wont question if you can trust yourself to date or why you can’t find the one. Click here to learn more about it and how you can work with me.
  • Ep #54: How Hard Can You Believe?
  • Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio
  • A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Enjoy the Show?

Happy Saturday Renegades,

A couple of months ago I recorded an episode called How hard can you believe? It was about an exercise I had been doing with my clients, fiends and social media following where I asked them to pick one belief they wanted to have about life. If they could choose one thought, what would it be. Woof Renegades. There was an alarmingly high amount of push back BUT once I convinced my clients that this was meant to be for fun, no one had to know and they didn’t actually have to believe it, they gave in.

Thoughts like:
This is badass
I’m here for a good time
I can find the beauty in all of it
I’m here to learn
Anything is possible
This is the fun part
There’s always a silver lining

were just a few examples. But most everyone said, you can’t look at life and all its circumstances and just think one thing. It’s not possible. Not only is it possible, I watch every day how my clients, friends and myself personally do it but with thoughts that

A don’t make us feel good but reaffirm the story we have about ourselves or
B we don’t actually believe the but never examine our thinking therefore we don’t know we are operating from it.

Today I’m going to give you some examples - one of which is personal AND describe how I’m choosing to move through this one a little bit differently than I normally do. For example, turning up the volume and hitting repeat on Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio while wearing my snow leopard hat and violently dancing in front of a giant mirror and on my bed has become part of the formal ‘letting go’ process. How about that visual.

The stories and thoughts that we hold on to can be slightly mind-blowing when we look at what they actually create for us in our lives.

Allen Watts says, “All you see outside your head is your mind.”

But hey, we aren’t all as enlightened. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; our brains are a mother fucker.

Our brains light up when we witness a positive experience in or outside of our lives but not the same way it does when it witnesses something that is perceives as drama. Think of all the stories you create when someone cuts you off in traffic. How we can barely look away from an accident. What we make up in our minds about what might have happened is Oscar award winning drama. We get off on it. We hold on to it. We repeat it over and over. You only need to look to the media and see what stories sell and get the clicks to know what I’m talking about.

We spend very little time cultivating or bragging about all the good happening in our lives, but we don’t mind sharing the bad.

Most of our brains won’t even let us accept the accolades for ourselves or others.

Someone tells you what a great job you did in the interview or how much they love you and you don’t agree. You can’t see it.

Someone else tells you that you are insensitive or did a terrible job during the interview and you believe them.

Someone tells you their good news and your brain immediately offers that you should be doing this with your life too.

Someone tells you their bad news and you one up them with more bad news.

This Renegades, has nothing to do with the people and what they are saying or the events happening. It’s the perfect combination of the way your brain is wired combined with the story you’ve created about yourself and your worth.

Your brain wants to create the drama so it can distract you. Your brain also likes to interpret the world the same way it’s used to. It has developed neuropathways that take your brain the same direction it’s used to going whether you are conscious of it or not.

When you become aware of your patterned thinking it may only require a minor adjustment or you might experience a bit more of an internal rupture.

For example, I have one client who when talking about her recent goal said that she thought she would feel more satisfied once she reached it. That it would be different than it is.

We coached through it but a month or more later she said, I’m just not satisfied with my relationship… I thought marriage would be different.

I said, that sounds familiar. I repeated back what she had just send about her marriage and her feelings than brought up what she had send previously about her goal. It was almost verbatim.

She was like, wait. That is so crazy because after I said it to you the first time about my goal I later thought, I was satisfied. More than that I was really impressed which satisfied me more.

I asked her, is it possible this sentence in your mind is dated and you don’t believe it, but you keep recycling?

This was a huge aha moment. She did have a habit of only looking at her life from a view of unsatisfied but when we examined her work, relationships and goals she was incredibly satisfied.

We also looked at how this thought, I thought it would feel differently not only created dissatisfaction, but when she felt that we she reached outside of herself to manufacture satisfaction; make more money because that wasn’t enough, drink alcohol because I want to feel more, have sex with other people because that would fulfill me.

She asked; How did this thought get here? Where did it come from? How do I change this? I am satisfied! I don’t believe things should be different than they are!

Simple, I said; stop believing it. When it comes up remind your brain that it’s not true and make a U-Turn. Replace it with the new thought; I am satisfied with my life. I enjoy the challenges in front of me every day and overcoming them. I do it not because I lack satisfaction in my life but because it brings me pleasure. The shift, though subtle will change the behavior and the results. For one, he will be satisfied with the goal when he reaches it if he deliberately looks for the reasons he finds satisfying.
You create a new neuropathway.

This approach works if you don’t believe the thought but are just running with it because your brain offers it.

Don’t take the first think. Don’t subscribe. Don’t buy in. Just because the brain offers the thought doesn’t mean anything. It’s not real. Your brain has thousands of contradicting thoughts all day, every day. You get to decide, Renegades.

Sometimes I ask my brain, So What? And not in a dismissive way, but from love and understanding. What am I making this mean?

Sometimes though, these beliefs can cut a little deeper. The belief and the story you were unaware of hurts you and it turns out, you might have been believing it a little.

That’s where I found myself last week face to face with the thought:

“They don’t like me.”

How this story begins well, is hard to say exactly. Originally, I would have said 2 weeks ago but if you asked me last week, I would have said 20 years ago but if you asked me today, I’d have to admit, it’s been there for as long as I can remember. So long actually, that ‘they don’t like me’ was like a tattoo that eventually blended into my skin and I no longer noticed. Like my stretch marks that at first made me want to rip my own skin off no longer gets my attention.

‘They don’t like me’ has been my defense. A way for me to put my fists up and slowly return to my safe space.

It’s evolved to they won’t like me which allows for me to stay safe and not leave.
Witness this belief unfold before me has been some of the hardest work I’ve done on or with myself.
I have seen the story I’ve held on to and the suffering it caused me over the years next to what it actually is. I have seen how I did this, created it, made it a part of my identity in the same way you would identify with who your friends and family are your title at work.

What’s been difficult and amazing is seeing just how prominent this belief has been since I became conscious to it. Sneaky littler fucker. I feel like I just discovered a virus on my computer, and it has been there for oh, you know, 36 years.

It’s brutal. Experiencing the pain of it all. But allowing myself to fully embody it and integrate this new information actually proves to me how much I do love myself.

When we face ourselves and the beliefs we hold we have to be ready to accept that on one level there has been safety in the story.

My survivor brain used this as a way to protect me from getting hurt. I can hold space for the child, teen, young woman and woman. I can also let her know that it’s okay to let go of this story. That this isn’t who she is. I can forgive myself for lying to myself. I can tell myself it’s okay to feel all of this. Not, oh, you’re fine. Don’t be sad. It’s cool. Everybody likes you.

It’s more like, ohhhh yah, I can totally see how you thought thinking that kept you safe. But guess what, you’re not in danger. I’ve got you. And I fucking hold her.

This experience brought me home. I actually get it now; I have been seeking love, affirmation and self-worth outside of myself for as long as I can remember. If I can just get someone to like and love me, they will see me and then I will know my worth.

Marianne Williamson says In A Return to Love. There’s a great story about recovering from attraction to dangerous men. It goes like this: When you’re really ill, you don’t even know a snake when you see one. Once recovery begins, you see a snake and you know it’s a snake, but you still play with it. Once you’ve landed in true recovery zone, you see a snake, you know it’s a snake and you cross to the other side of the road.

The reason I started dating consciously years ago had everything to do with being over with ending up where I was each time in a relationship. What I was choosing for myself and my way of losing myself each time.

You keep choosing someone over yourself. Someone else to love you. It’s a never-ending cycle.

I learned that there isn’t a person in this world that can love my pain away or fill the void. That that was my work, but I didn’t realize just how deep this wound was.

I’m learning to process my emotions through this as a feminine creature. Meaning, I’m experiencing and embodying all of it. I’ve created containers to feel the rage, the depths of sadness, rejection, embarrassment and the shame. I’m not telling myself you’re fine. Choose happiness. You’ll be okay!
Instead, I’m all in on processing the countless emotional experiences as they come up.

I’ve learned that there is freedom in letting go of our stories. Like shedding a skin from survival and born into a revival. It requires real courage, and I don’t doubt we are capable, but our survivor brain fears feeling - it fears it will break us. That we may never recover. But I want to remind you what I’ve been reminding myself, a feeling or emotion is a vibration caused by a thought. This vibration goes through our body. It can’t kill us.

I’ve been moving these emotions in my body to music. I’m dancing them through, around and out. I give myself an allotted amount of time and go for it. I’m putting on old school Jewel and sobbing in my bathtub. I’m walking, running and breathing. I’m giving myself conscious time to experience myself.

She wants to be sad; I’m letting her have it.

I’m taking an inventory on all the things I love about myself. Creating new thoughts and beliefs. New neuropathways. Who I’ve become. Who I was.

I’m choosing to look back at my past from a different lens. Because the most fucked up part about this story is that no one has ever actually said to me, I don’t like you. Not directly.

Obviously, I know people out there don’t like me and I’m actually okay with not being liked but this has nothing to do with them.
This story was completely made up by me. Once again, I’m the victim and the villain.

But now you can call me the queen of reframe because I’m over here every day doing it.

I’m asking myself the coaching questions; I want to understand why you are doing this? Why are you telling yourself this? What is actually going on here? Is it possible you’re not seeing the whole story? Is it possible you are wrong about that? This helps break you out of the story.

Remember, the brain doesn’t care if it feels good or bad it just wants to be right. If you are used to feeling sad or in this instance believing they don’t like you it’s looking for ways to produce the effects. This is actually why it’s hard to let go of our thoughts. They are habits. Parts of our identity. Or like Herman Miller said, thinking is a narcotic.

A few weeks ago I was so confused by what had happened and each day I journaled. I found myself asking myself the question, what if I trusted this happened to me for my greater good? That the universe always protects me and gives me exactly what I need when I need it. What if I surrender to this heartbreak I’m experiencing? What if I allow all the shit to come up and I don’t push it away? Just allow it. Can I trust that there are no bad trips, only the trips you need? Can I accept what’s on the other side of this experience?

Renegades, by remaining open I found myself somewhere I never imagined. And for that I am grateful. What happened is exactly what it took for me to find my way home, to clear out this old, dated belief and learn how to love myself deeper and get to know the real me.

Fully experiencing a rupture will take you to the next level. You will learn how to love yourself harder than you did before.

I read last week a post from Yung Pueblo. “Heartbreak isn’t always a sad ending, sometimes it sets in motion a profound transformation where you work on truly loving yourself, become more emotionally mature and learn what type of partner would actually support your happiness.”

In this instance, I’m my own partner. I’m learning how to support myself in this way.

Lastly, I hate that memes get me so well. You know what I mean?! Come on Yung Pueblo! I just wrote 4 pages of emotional vomit and you said it in one post containing one very long sentence. So concise.

New Rule Renegades, start sharing a brag or two when you are with friends. Ask you friends to share theirs. Own the good you have going on. Look for it. Maybe it’s picking up trash on town lake, maybe you got a promotion, maybe you finally said no to the guy that never said yes. Train the brain to see all the good and glow up. Create new lanes to travel on. And don’t forget, your brain will continue to offer the old beliefs and ones you have committed to not believing. Nothing has gone wrong here. Just make a U-Turn and think the new thought on purpose.

Like my favorite from Byron Katie, “Everybody loves me here. They just don’t know it yet.”

Until next week, I know you like me. I like me too. I actually love me…

And I love you. I really fucking do.

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