Stopping our struggle stories

I spend 90% of my day telling stories.

As a professional communicator, I use different platforms and mediums to share key messages and to connect with an organization’s stakeholders in a meaningful way. Storytelling is a big buzzword but when its used in an impactful way, it benefits a business.

My mother also recently described me as the one always “with books all around” in bed (thanks mom for making me sound super social). Which actually now – looking around at my bed covered in books and notebooks – is still pretty accurate. If I’m not writing them at work – I’m reading stories.

Recently, I was excited about an opportunity to write a feature story for a magazine I’m working on. This is my jam I thought. My get lost in the zone passion is storytelling style of writing. No problem.

But I struggled to write it. Day after day this voice that creeped in to tell me “you’re not even THAT good of a writer.”

The whodoyouthinkyouare voice kept popping up over and over every time I sat down to write.

When negative feelings come, I started practicing this: instead of shaming myself for feeling bad (feedback loop from hell which leaves you feeling worse and worse) I get curious. 

Curiosity told me that the thought creeping in one of my struggle stories. A story – unlike the ones that benefit business – that holds me back.

Really, I’m spending 100% of my day telling stories but that extra 10 percent is not serving me.

I started to reflect on this struggle story of “not being good enough” or “who do you think you are” – a story ultimately of unworthiness – and realized how often we let negative stories run our lives.

Relationship struggle stories are reoccurring.  The longest ones we usually write.

My major relationship story would surface to tell me that vulnerability leads to heartbreak so its best to stay completely closed.

The result? My inability to be vulnerable and authentic in my relationships continued to keep me closed, cold and ultimately brought me further away from what I really wanted. Realizing that true connection NEEDS vulnerability was a game changer.

It’s uncomfortable. It is still uncomfortable sometimes. But it also feels so freakin’ good to be your authentic self with someone.

In my recovery, I held on tightly to the story that attempts at recovery always means relapse. That I would live semi-recovered with an eating disorder for the rest of my life.

Of course, I continued to struggle until I finally challenged this story. I started to visualize and ask myself – what would life look like with REAL recovery? (FYI – it looks pretty amazing).

I started to write new.

And now I untell that story every single day.

What stories no longer serve you? Challenge them.

Shifting struggle stories that keep you stuck take time. I think we hold on to them because we get addicted to the “struggle.” The pain and problems they bring up. Seems silly right? But I’ve seen how much I’ve held on to pain. How I’ve chosen the victim mentality over the opportunity to truly take responsibility and guide my life.

As I was reflecting I was reading the Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and came across this quote that pieced it together for me:

…the story that pain has purpose. We live in a world that supports drama, terror, separation, and hardship. We’ve been guided to believe that without pain we have not accomplished or achieved….Pain does not equal purpose. Your purpose is to be joyful. Your purpose is to live with ease…

Pain does not equal purpose. You mean we can really choose and seek joy over pain? Damn.

Our awareness that these negative stories exist gives us the opportunity to change. To break up with the patterns that keep us stuck. Letting go is never easy, but in this case, it’s always worth it.

Extinguishing pain supporting stories bring us closer to that ease and joy we seek.

Letting go brings us closer to the relationships we want. Help us pursue our passions without the “not good enough stories” creeping in to slow us down. Letting go helps us on our journey to break addictions and seek true recovery. 

I’ve decided to keep leaning into joy. To challenge the negative stories and rewrite new.

The story we tell is what shows up in our life. So what story are you writing? 

xo Collette Marie