When I stopped repeating the story of what I didn’t want or didn’t think I had and instead turned my attention to believing in the unexpected, my brain switched from complaining about a problem to inviting in a solution.
Over and over again I discovered the power of this wonderful process.
When “I can’t afford a decent house” turned into “I have everything I need for the house I am meant to live in” I ended up sharing space with family where the kids could play freely in the yard I so badly wanted to have.
When “Exercise programs just aren’t for me” turned into “I love exercising in ways that are fun” I found a fitness class that was perfect for me (see Post).
And frequently, when I lost my keys, “I can’t find my keys” turned into, “where are my keys?” and I found them (with the exception of the time my then 2 year old son told me he threw them off the balcony of our apartment into the blackberry bushes).
Seeing how new things were working out lead me to try this technique on my relationship. After nearly eleven years, it still wasn’t functioning in a healthy way. So I decided to re-narrate stories I was telling myself. Instead of complaining, critiquing, and engaging in power struggles, I changed my tune to appreciation, surrendering to a higher power to guide me, and affirming character traits that I wanted to bring to my relationship.
Not only did I begin to step into the better person I wanted to be, I started telling myself how fabulous my dream partner was as if a real person had just walked into my life. This was not a form of denial but of re-creation. My husband wouldn’t stop drinking alcohol and getting drunk regularly. Instead of trying to change him, I was going to change my relationship to him. I gave myself permission to leave. I could let go of the toxic relationship and create a healthy relationship. I wanted our two kids to grow up knowing what a healthy, happy family life was.
What I didn’t expect was for my husband to become a partner in co-creating that healthy relationship with me. When I walked out, we were both able to take a step back and look at the ways we had maintained the unhealthy relationship together. It was not just him. I had my anger, I had my patterns of pain that were not aligned with the better person I knew I was inside and wanted to project into the world.
Hiking my own mountain and looking into myself to transform negative stories about my life into affirmations of love and gratitude, I put shovel to earth, and uncovered the glittering treasures that were within. My own inner strength, my connection and trust in a power greater than myself that is loving and supportive, lead me to see the ways that I was cared for and guided to make positive changes.
Not in asking someone else to change, rather, asking what I could change has empowered me to act from a place of courage, self-worth, and compassion. It has allowed me to forgive myself and forgive others.
I cannot underestimate the power of story. Stories are acts of creation, they are invitations, they are affirmations of the way things are and the way things will be or can be. Complaining kept me stuck in a story of an unhealthy relationship. Opening to new possibilities, shifting my energy from a place of anger, bitterness, and judgment, into gratitude and appreciation, valuing myself, seeking strength and guidance from a higher power, and inviting in love at a deeper level has lead to a new understanding of how I can show up better in the world.
I am truly grateful that my husband is shifting his patterns as well, choosing sobriety and collaborating to bring a shared vision of family come together.
Earlier this evening we played the board game “My First Stone Age” as a healthy, happy family – fully present to one another and the moment. A dream come true.
As the New Year draws closer and resolutions are being written down or spoken into the wind, what do you intend to create for yourself? How do you intend to show up for yourself in 2018? What stories will you re-write?