I Am Not My Story And It Affects Where I’m Starting Today
As we say in the Introduction that is read at the beginning of each CAIRing Grace Group meeting: “We are not defined by our story, and our story affects where we are starting today. We can remember that our true identity is not determined by how we are doing or what we are feeling at a given moment." How do you define who you are, and how do you determine your identity? Is it based on your “rear view mirror” of all the things that have happened up until now in your life, or is it based on your “windshield” of becoming in the present? Which direction are you looking as you drive your bus today – rear view mirror or windshield?
This is a common trap that robs people of the ability to make changes in their lives. The truth is that your past does effect where you are starting in the present, but it does not need to define who you are, or who you can be becoming today. Therapeutic Coaching is about learning to see yourself through your windshield.
If you were to consider your life a movie, what words would you use to give a brief summary of the movie? As you take the long view of your life, do you begin to see patterns where the story is the same, and the content/players are different? The same things seem to keep happening again and again, even though you hate the patterns? Begin to allow yourself to feel good about noticing any unwanted patterns. Are these patterns happening in the present? How do you feel about yourself as the star of your movie? Who are the primary supporting actors and what are the key pivotal scenes in your movie?
As the scenes unfold, make a list of any dysfunctional patterns that you notice and add to the list as you progress through the book. Remember that you are not your patterns, and your patterns affect your ability to exercise choice in the present. It can be such a relief to share what you are noticing with me in your journal.
Clients look forward to sharing in our sessions. As you learn more about how I would respond, add this dimension to your journaling, building a dialogue that helps to develop your inner coach to support your recovery. Clients often feel they have no hope because of terrible experiences growing up. They feel shame or deep resentment for their pain. They tend to live their pain over and over in their Time Machines. Their past draws them away from the present, and makes them afraid about the future. They continue to keep repeating the same patterns in the present that they are experiencing internally in their Time Machines. Or they block off all their feelings in order to avoid the pain.
The problem is that blocking off your feelings creates its own pain. Blocking creates a sense of “nothingness” that feeds anxiety and depression. Imagine a structure with ten foot walls all the way around, to keep the pain out. Imagine yourself inside those walls, safe and alone, completely alone. What do you notice? The truth is that you can learn to accept past pain and experience it differently in the present - no matter what kinds of wounds you may have experienced in the past. You can learn to have choices about your feelings as a result of living consciously, relaxing into New Program perceptions and perspectives. Practice, Practice, Practice!
There are many who feel that they don’t have a right to have any problems at all because they come from a “normal” family. They feel ashamed that they don’t have the justification of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or some other dramatic reason for having problems. They often feel that to acknowledge these problems would be to blame their parents for their current circumstances.
Recovery is not about blame; it is about change in the present. In Therapeutic Coaching I help people appreciate and respect the wounds that are filtering their choices in the present. The content related to my own wounded kids is not dramatic, but the effects have had a profound impact on my life. It is important for you to respect wounds that you find on your journey whatever they may be, bringing loving nurturing to the wounded parts of yourself, whether you understand the reason for the wounds or not. It is not a contest; each individual’s experience is real for them, deserving respect and valuing.
Accepting your history as previous learning, gives you the ability to use that history to practice approaching past experiences differently. When you realize that your true identity is actually a process of becoming, it changes everything. It allows Powerful Vulnerability. You are free to begin making healthy changes in your life today. You don’t have to defend your past history, you can learn and grow from it, giving meaning to past pain. You can take healthy responsibility for pain you have caused others, apply the Serenity Prayer to the situation, and learn from it for the present/future.