When the Story Holds You – Lifting the Emotional Baggage
By Jewel Ray Chaudhuri, Ph.D.
The stories we tell ourselves can take hold of us for days, weeks, or even years. They can produce drama and a whole host of things we tell ourselves, including anger, sorrow, sadness, and often self-doubt, especially for us as women. The hold of the story is laden with emotional baggage, taking us back to the past rather than being in the present. It can cause the “should” or “if only,” or better yet, “if I had done x, then y would or wouldn’t have happened.” Sometimes, the story shifts to blame: “Well, if she hadn’t done x, then he wouldn’t have done y.”
Its not that stories are “bad.” We exist in and live through our telling of stories. Stories become problematic when we have too much invested in the outcome or when they cause us not to fully “be.” A “good” story can also have this effect. When we have so much invested in the story that we are afraid to let it go, we lose our power and can become the victim.
Do you have such a story? I did. I went through all the emotions, the “shoulds,” the self-doubt, and the times of reflecting on the past when I could be living my present.
Rewrite your story consciously. If the story is gripping you and you’re struggling with its rewrite, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want or need to let go of the story? Am I ready to give up this story and create a new one?
- What judgments am I making about my desire to hold on to the story?
- What fears and emotions are calling me to hold on to the story? What is calling me to give it up?
- If I could create a new story with different possibilities, what would the new story look like?
- What action could bring me closer to letting go of the story? What could I tell myself instead?
About the Author: Jewel Ray Chaudhuri, Ph.D.
Jewel’s passion is working with seasoned and emerging female business leaders to deepen voice and connect to their power so that they can lead from a place of strength. She is the founder of Power-Coeur Coaching and the 2014 ICF Phoenix VP Communications. Connect with Jewel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (623) 748-7572.