When you reflect on your past experiences, what stories do you tell yourself? Does your story ever entail feeling like you weren’t good enough? What about feeling like you were too different and wouldn’t fit in? Unlovable? A failure? Disappointment? How many times do you notice the themes of your story showing up in your life, presently? Many times, the experiences that we have, both positive and negative, shape the way we view the world, ourselves, and the people in it. For example, if part of your story is that you are a failure, how likely are you to put yourself out there and run the risk of not getting the outcome you want? How willing are you to put your all into a task or goal, if you hold the belief that you will fail anyway? The problem with this, is that if you become too attached to your story, you can often engage in a pattern of recreating your trauma story over and over, often recreating hurtful experiences. These negative experiences create defense mechanisms that can leave you feeling stuck, and many times, can provide a sense of familiarity to some people, who may be too afraid to live a life under a new narrative.
Take a moment to think about your trauma story. Now ask yourself, is the story that you believe, based on facts, interpretations, or assumptions? Or a combination of all three? Now ask yourself this, can something like a person’s worth be proven by fact? It’s highly likely that the answer to that is no. Determining things like worth, perfection, being lovable or not, are typically subjective, which means that they are left up to interpretation. How likely is it that you have been holding onto your story as if it is your absolute truth? What if the trauma that you have been holding onto was highly based on interpretations and assumptions? Would it still have the power to contribute to intense emotional pain (not the complete absence of pain)? Would it change the beliefs that you hold about yourself (feeling unlovable, like a failure, not good enough, etc.)? Think about your story, ask yourself, what you know to be true about it (the absence of assumptions and interpretations) and see if a new story develops.