Rewriting Your Valentine's Day Story!
by Kelley Kosow
February 2017 Newsletter from www.TheFordInstitute.com
It's Valentine's Day - a day when many wear red, receive roses, and revel in romance, while others roll their eyes, denounce it as being "no big deal," and wish they could ignore it completely. It is also a day that can trigger painful memories, uncomfortable emotions, and give rise to a steady stream of shadow beliefs that generate negative self-talk that loops in our head. Instead of hearing "silly love songs," we hear a choir of self-condemnation and criticism that reminds us we are unlovable, losers, damaged, broken, or just not worthy of hearts and flowers or deserving of any of the sweet, juicy stuff that life has to offer.
I must admit I was definitely one of those who always dreaded Valentine's Day. If I was in a relationship, I always worried that my partner would not show up the way I wanted him to. If I was not in a relationship, I just wanted to hide under the covers and not have to face the shame of what I made being single and alone mean about me. No matter what my situation was at the time, I had a whole story around this day of love and romance and despite whatever transpired, my Valentine's Day story always had the same ending. For me, V-Day was D-Day - A Day of Disappointment!
For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept of story, our story is all of the beliefs and meanings that we assign to an event or situation. Put another way, it is the fiction that we wrap around the facts of our lives. For example, if I was not in a relationship on Valentine's Day I might have made it mean that something was wrong with me or no one would ever want me and I would die alone. Or if my partner did not get me a gift, I might have made it mean that he did not love me. Now the important thing about our stories is that they are not the truth, they are just a bunch of meanings that we sometimes consciously and more often unconsciously create and wrap around a set of facts. Our stories are not necessarily true or false, bad or good, but they are limiting. Predicated on our shadow beliefs, they impact our ability to receive in the present and become self-fulfilling prophecies for our future.
Why do you think so many of us have so much anxiety and fear about our futures? We live in fear because when we are being run by our stories from the past, our futures are predictable since our stories always have the same ending!
Our stories are set in stone unless we proactively dissect them and unconceal the shadow beliefs that lurk beneath the surface of our conscious mind. Our shadow beliefs drive our thoughts and behavior, whether we're aware of it or not. When you become aware of your story, you can consciously choose to step out of your story heartbreak, and disappointment and into a place of possibilities where you have the power to rewrite the ending of your love story.
One of the reasons I love leading and being a part of The Shadow Process Workshopis because I get to witness people wake up to their shadows of shame, legacies of lack, and histories of humiliation. They start realizing the meaning-making, plot lines, and themes that have been running and wreaking havoc on their lives. They begin to recognize their story for what it is - a story that is like a song that gets played way too much on the radio, unconsciously infiltrating their thoughts and sabotaging their ability to receive abundance.
The good news is you have the power to change the channel, turn the page, and step out of any story you have created about any subject. You can recommit to looking at yourself and your life through fresh eyes, and find the moral to your story and the lessons learned. So on this Valentine's Day, or any other day you are entranced by a story, I want to invite you to step out of the prison of your past perceptions and adopt the look of love!
Transformational Action Steps
1. Start thinking about Valentine's Day or any significant event (birthday, New Year's Eve, first day of school, etc.) that brings up feelings of ambivalence, dread, anxiety, sadness, etc.
2. Write out your story about that particular event - and make it dramatic.
o What has happened in the past that made you feel those feelings?
o How did you interpret those events?
o What did you make them mean about you?
o How have those meanings impacted the way you view that event?
o What can you now see about your story?
o What is the cost of holding on to it?
o What is the wisdom you are ready to extract from your story?
3. Create a new story. Write out your vision for that event - what you would like to experience and the feelings you would like to feel.
4. Consciously take on stepping out of your old story and into your new vision.
Sending you lots of love and happiness on Valentine's Day!