The other night I couldn’t sleep and was flipping through the channels. I clicked onto Oprah’s channel and her Life Class was on featuring Iyanla Vanzant. At first I was just half listening and looking mindlessly through a magazine. Then my attention was grabbed as they started to really talk about what I have based my business around, emotions and how people get stuck. At 1:00am when it was over, I looked for when it would air again and set the DVR. Knew I needed to hear it all again…and again!
There were many things Iyanla talked about that I just kept agreeing with as she works with people in a similar fashion as I. I got from her, that like me, she does not believe that people need to be in long term therapy or that change has to be this long process. Change can happen very quickly with just a shift in how you look at your current situation. She did some work on the show with a man, he was handsome (which to be honest really made me pay attention), and he had a story and a powerful one. I kept thinking about the last blog I wrote about everyone having a story, he was the perfect example. He had 10 years of being clean and sober but he was in a pretty deep emotional hole. I saw that he was sober, but not in recovery (maybe my next blog based on my belief on the difference). He was not using but he was depressed and very stuck emotionally. He told his story, it was sad and then Iyanla said something that made SO much sense, “You are addicted to your story”! WOW, he was, it was so clear. His story was of a man not using for 10 years, of having no father growing up, an abusive mother, etc…The story defined him, he did not define his story. I thought of people I know and wished for them to watch this. I thought of me!
I was addicted to my story, ok, stories and still have some I hold on to. I thought of the one that started early – Being an only child and people assuming I was spoiled. It always hurt me when people would say that. But I allowed to be one of my stories. When I was 19-21 I was in a bad relationship with a guy who did not know how to treat another person and I gave him permission daily to treat me disrespectfully, and I kept that story going in my mind for about 20 years (and still hold little bits of it now and again). I was the Emotionally Abused girl and beat myself up for so long for allowing that. I pushed others away, can’t get hurt if you don’t let them in! I kept up a big wall…only allowing people I knew I would not have to invest too much of my heart to. Another story I clung to was I was hurt when I was 20 and misdiagnosed for many years and have lived with chronic pain for 22 years now and for much of that time, I held that story REALLY close. All the things I couldn’t do because of “my leg”. Forgot about all the stuff I could do. I could keep going, but I will spare you!
I have worked so hard on my own personal growth and have let go of most of the story for each of those, but when I get REALLY honest with myself (and now you), I have not let them go 100%, they have become an odd safety net that I never fully realized that I had. Now I see it, now I have to release them, free myself. I also have to be super honest with myself about the stories I am still addicted to that are holding me back and keeping me from FULLY forging my own path. I don’t want to just “dip my toes in the water, I want to jump in all the way and into the deep end”. I am 42, a woman, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a professional, a business owner, and after hearing Iyanla say, “You are addicted to your story”, I realized I am NOT my story, I am just me and I like me!!!