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I was raised to “keep the skeletons in the closet”. My father is still alive so we literally walk on egg shells with certain stories
he may think need not be discussed (especially with relatives). However, I know it isn’t healthy to live like that and I believe you find friends and/or family that you entrust with such stories and discuss to keep your mental health in tact! Certain stories though are not worth looking back on and might as well be forgotten to move forward!
I have been writing for a while. I never ceased to be amazed how sometimes when writing, the story flows through me. When I pause, I am often surprised at what has just been written. So, the release may not always be a conscious process.
What old stories can I release? When I read this question, I do not see it as letting go of old stories but I think it refers to recognizing them when they come for a visit. For me, it is more about “What was my perspective at the time of this experience? What conclusions did I draw? Were my conclusions life-giving or life-limiting? I’m not sure one can let the stories go but in my experience, you can put them to rest. Many times by rewriting them with the self awareness you’ve gained.
I remind myself often that these stories were my take on a situation at a specific time. For example, the story I told myself early in my marriage was that I only wanted what was best and it never dawned on me that what I thought was best was not what everybody thought was best so when I discovered my husband had a drinking problem, I based all of my decisions on my belief that I was always right because after all, I only wanted what was best. It never crossed my mind that I might not know what was best and so my anger grew and he became the scapegoat for all my frustrations. It took years for me to understand that my anger was my anger and I had created a “poor me” story that was so life-limiting it permeated every fiber of my being.
At a Toltec meeting many years ago, someone was sharing his frustrations, telling the story he had created about a situation in his life. When he finished, I heard another person say, “Well that’s an interesting story you’ve created. But let’s see if we can re-write it.” The Toltec teacher was urging him to own his thoughts, his perspective, his feelings instead of playing a blame and shame game.
What ever we face in life, whether it is fair or not, no one can fix it for us. I try very hard to remind myself that my stories are always connected to my belief system. And even though my belief system has changed many times due to personal growth some of those negative messages they produced are imprinted in my brain and when under stress, they can rise again. For example my Mom taught me, you can’t have fun until the work is done. I know today that the work is never done! My childhood image of God was an old man who demanded perfection for me to be loved. That need to please is tamed but has never left me.
Releasing old stories? I don’t know; but usually I’ve been able to rewrite them.
The stories that I was told about myself.
The stories that I thought I had to keep
hidden. It’s hard for me to fully release
them. They are still there. I am
attempting to see them,
for what they are.
Hi Charlie T, I think we shared the same principle but you have the gift of saying it in fewer words! Thank you! Carol
In light of the previous reflections, it is time for me to accept the experiences of ablism, drain the energles that are the unfortunate outcomes.
I am not sure what stories to release…again….does release me to let go or does it mean to share. As with most people who have lived many years …I have many stories…some filled with hurt and others joyful…and some just experiences. The ones that caused the hurt and sadness…I try not to think about…those are ones to let go of…but it seems that I never will be able to do that, So for now…I will think of the good stories and all that I am grateful for…I can use that this morning! Thank you all again for sharing your insights and wisdom thru your words and experiences.
In the past, especially during my adolescence, I didn’t treat myself as I deserved, I didn’t take care of myself as a human being. I was harming myself while convincing myself that I was practicing self-love and that I was listening to my needs and that I was being indulgent and sympathetic towards myself.
Only later in life, I realized that I wasn’t.
I couldn’t accept that I found some things difficult to achieve because I was feeling bad, both mentally and physically sometimes. I never forgave myself for those times, I’ve always carried with me, since then, resentment towards my own person, because “she wasn’t able to stand up, and act normally as if nothing bad was happening”.
Now I need to let that go, I need to let that resentment flow away and treat myself in the same way I would treat a friend of mine, with patience and love.
Thank you for sharing! I hope you know that you did your best with the tools you had at that particular age and time. When we know better, we do better, Maya Angelou wise words. Loving ourselves as we grow older is a gift. May you claim it and may you know that you deserve this gift of knowledge. Blessings to you.
I was recently at a funeral and I was reminded that life is short. My life is filled with “stuff” I would not choose again but it is also filled with resilience and compassion. Those are the stories I want to let go of but also some parts to embrace.
So interesting to me that some read the word “release” to mean “let go of, discard, stop dragging around” and others read it as “share, so others have the story too.”
I did a lot of work years ago to recognize and stop revisiting stories about who I am in my family of origin, what roles others think I play or what they think they know, so that I can be who I am, not who older siblings think I am. I know that the stories are still there, not fully released in the sense of flying away because that isn’t really possible; they’re part of who and how I grew up to be this particular me. I’ve released them in the sense that I’ve removed their former power.
This is timely because in a couple of weeks I’m going to the first family reunion in quite a few years. We’ll see if I’ve really removed their power, if anyone brings something up. I may have to write the word “equanimity” on one hand and “breathe” on the other in Sharpie before I go.
Thank you! I learned something today: I had to look up at the actual definition of “equanimity” What a powerful and lovely word! May you find the description of this word in all your encounters at your family reunion. Blessings to you.
Good plan. May a loving spirit accompany you.
About 34 years ago we were calving out about 120 cows. Mostly Shorthorns and a few Herefords. It was my shift around midnight to check the first calf heifers in the barn. Among the heifers was a three year old that did not breed her first go around but Dwayne, the man I was working for, said he would give her another chance. The three year old had broke her water and was having trouble. I went to wake up Dwayne to come help me help her. Now she was bigger for a first timer, fat and sassy. I got the rope around her but we could not get her snubbed up very close to the wall so we tied her off and went to work. The calf was coming out right but was big. I got the chain on one leg above the hoof and had the other end around my wrist, going in for the other leg. Then the ruckus started! She was a bellowing, I was a hollering and Dwayne was yelling to me what was happening. Come to find out she had smacked an electric outlet box on a pole with her head in the roping process. Her wet tail had wrapped around the pole and was in contact with the outlet and a 120 volt shock was going through her, the unborn calf and me! At the time I did not know this. My wife of 6 months was a fan of scary movies and we had just watched a rental movie on the VCR earlier that night. When the shock first hit me my mind went straight to that scary movie and that the three year old was possessed! Luckily Dwayne noticed her tail and was able to peel it off with a wooden stick. The calf was alive and she raised him well. He was the only one named that year….Sparky!
Great story, Joseph! I too farmed as a young man and can’t count how many times we had to assist with calving in the worst possible locations and under terrible circumstances.
We used horses to round up grazing cows for milking in one place that I worked. After a heavy rain all night, I saddled up “Mr. T,” one of the horses, to round up the heard at 4 AM. To reach the large open grazing field I had to pass through a paddock with electric fencing. I dismounted to unhook the “live” gate, but in the course of holding Mr. T’s reins in one hand, and the insulated electric handle in the other hand, I had to back up slowly and keep the wire tight so it wouldn’t buckle. While backing up through the muddy and rocky section of the paddock, I stumbled on a rock , which allowed the wire to loop onto itself, hitting me in my right arm. But Mr. T’s nose was touching the side of my left arm, just at the moment when I and my horse got shocked pretty good standing there in the mud! Mr T, frightened, reared up on his hind legs, turned around, and bolted back to this stable, leaving me standing there in the mud, with no ride, and no cows anywhere in sight!
Now that’s a story! 🐄⚡
Thus is a story way out of my experiences. I think I want to say thank you although it is scary. It helps me appreciate experiences I am not aware of.
Oh my goodness! This gives me chills. I sent most of a summer on a dairy farm when I was 15. I have always been thankful for that experience to see another way of life. One of the grown sons of the family was deaf as was his wife. Knowing him and learning to understand some of what he said was another learning experience for me.
This made me snort out loud at the calf’s name. Feels like a story to hang on to, not one to let go of! (the way I’m reading the question, anyway)
I thought that too Barb about Joseph keeping the story. Then I wondered if the question was related to – it is time to tell it. It seems to me that it might be good to interpret the question in a way that is meaningful to us.
That is an excellent question. I’ve released many about unhappy incidents and hurts from childhood, marriage and so forth. But to what stories about myself am I still clinging? What’s embedded so deeply that I barely notice that it’s there? That’s going to require some deep digging.
Oh, at my age I have a catalog of old stories. The trick is to share them sparingly and avoid repeat performances!
That is the hard part. With age, comes many repeated stories.
I’ve worked on my emotionally abusive parents with my therapist for two years… I’m still working, reflecting and trying to understand them. It’s very difficult to release a pain that still hurts but it’s the right thing to do to heal.
Perfetion doesn’t exist therefore neither do perfect people, or parents, and the past can’t be re-written but it can be healed. I’m trying to forgive and let it go.
I don’t know if the daily question really ask me this, because English is not my first language, but anyway… this is the first reflection that came to my mind.
Thank you all for the kind words, they helped me through the day since I had this reflection.
I am never quite sure about the words release or heal. It isn’t like we can stop remembering these hard experiences. I had a difficult childhood too and it often returns at a time when you least expect it. Many times, after watching a moving TV show or movie I have to talk it over again.
May your endeavors to move forward be blessed, and the way ahead bring you light, hope, and deep kindness.
And since what you wrote came to your mind, EEEVVV, it is a perfect reflection in any language!
Hi, I’m sorry for what you have been through with your parents. You are right, perfection does not exist, humans are fallible and flawed and sometimes hurt others because of this. I don’t think you need to understand them, I think the key here is to accept that, for whatever reason, they did not/do not have the capacity to be any other way than the way they were/are and that it is not your fault. We can’t change the past or change other people, we can only change ourselves and live fully in this present moment. However, I fully appreciate how hard it must be to release the pain you feel, it’s easier said than done. I wish you peace and release from emotional pain, I’m sure it is possible for you. x
Thank you for this Iamme. A counselor told me once, your mother did the best she could.
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