One of my stories was, “I’m divorced twice. I’m a failure at relationships. I can’t trust myself to make good decisions. If I’m a failure in life, I can’t possibly be successful in my career.” And on and on, like an endless loop of irrational negative thoughts that beat me up daily.
It cost me a lot to be stuck in this story. I felt sorry for myself. My confidence had cracks in it too wide to leap over. Decisions at work became hard—my usual quick assessments, attention to detail and decisive actions were nowhere to be found. I was risking a client contract. My management team, while patient at first, had a business to protect.
With great kindness, my manager came into my office, closed the door and asked me to sit with her for a few minutes. We moved to the couch for a very personal conversation. We talked about many things—the business I managed, how my staff was feeling, the attitude of my clients towards me, my future. It was hard to hear. She said something to me that hit home and it has stuck with me ever since—helping me still when I get stuck in my story, whatever it is.
“Look what it’s costing you to stay stuck in your story. Is that where you want to stay?”
I left work early that day, went home to my quiet sanctuary and pondered her question. The answer was so clear to me. “Of course that’s NOT where I want to stay! The cost is too great to me—and it is costing people I care about, too.” The next question, though, was a tough one to answer. “How do I move past my story?”
I asked this same question of the women in my private Facebook community, THRIVE after Divorce: Your Journey Begins, and some of their thoughts and advice is intertwined with mine in these …
5 Steps to Get Unstuck from Your Story
Stop Talking About It
The more you talk about it, the more it stays in your present world. Kick it to the curb. Stop engaging in conversations with family, friends and colleagues about what happened to you. Let them know this is not a topic you will discuss any longer. It’s time to move on.
Shift How You Think About It
This much I know for sure: just because you’ve stopped talking about it with others doesn’t mean it’s not still in your own thoughts and feelings. It will be—that’s normal. The choice you can make now is to think differently about what happened. What if you thought about it happening “for” you, rather than to you? What are you gaining for yourself? Where is the blessing in disguise? Who can you become now that this event has changed you and your life? Asking questions like these can bring powerful answers and insights.
Rediscover What You Value Most
Often we find ourselves in relationships for a long time, whether it is a personal relationship or a business affiliation. Over time, especially when you try to keep everyone else happy, you may lose connection with your own values. You may have compromised them to keep the peace, for instance. Your personal core values are a guiding light and a checkpoint for any choice or decision you make. Rediscovering those values is essential to moving past old stories. What are your values?
Independence? Family? Freedom? Trust? Integrity?
And ask yourself, “Does this choice I’m about to make honor my value of Independence?” Using this checkpoint will help steer you in the right direction. Every. Single. Time.
Care Less About What Others Say or Think
This is a tough one for many women, including me. I’ve been a pleaser since I was a child and it’s hard to let go of the belief that, if I’m not making everyone around me happy I’m a bad person. What I’ve chosen to believe instead is, if I’m not happy no one around me will be happy. So, I started to care less about what everyone else was thinking or saying about what’s good for me or what I should do or who I should be. By clinging to my own core values, I was able to let my intuition become my guide. I started making choices that made me happy. And, guess what? Everyone that I cared about followed my lead. Those I didn’t care about didn’t matter. That was a light-dawning moment.
It’s hard to dream new dreams when the old dreams have been shattered and you allow the story loop to repeat. To really move on—leaving behind the old story and writing your new story—a big beautiful vision is required. Don’t hold back. Don’t let anything you’ve heard before stop you. Did someone say, “You can’t do that!” Ask yourself, “Is it true?” If it’s not true, you don’t have to believe it anymore. You get to do and be whatever and whomever you want. It’s your dream.
Stop Talking, Shift Thinking, Reconnect with Your Values, Care Less and Dream Big! Simple? Yes. Easy? No. It wasn’t for me at first, either. If it’s not simple or easy for you, reach out. Those of us who have been where you are now can help.
If you have other strategies that help you shift your story, please share them. I would love to help others by sharing what has worked for you.