In a recent coaching class I’m in, the instructor invited us to consider negative cognitions (EMDR speak for stories, tapes, narratives). She suggested we bring up our most persistent stories and sit in them. Let them sink in to see if they are out of date.
I loved this concept.
What do we tell ourselves so often, usually to a nod to what we were told way back when, that is now so out of date that even the origin of that story is stale, like Wonder bread left in the fridge all summer (hint: it does not mold, even squirrels won’t eat it).
Our tightly held negative phrases and painful wounds can dissapate like fog or heal like a paper cut without our even knowing it. We go along using the same words and conjuring up the same hurts, even though they are out of date.
Generally, a ton of work or distance has been experienced for this to be true, but we can move forward unaware of the fundamental changes to our very beings.
I use to see this in seminary students, when I worked in higher ed. These were graduate students studying the very substance of faith and being. Their noses so close to the learning that some never looked up and around and within to see that they were no longer who they once were. But I would see it. Not only is student development part of admissions but is part of the exit interview process. So many times I would sit across the low table and tell the one about to graduate just how far they’ve come. For some, in that moment, the back straightens, the eyes go inward then grow big, and almost always a smile of recognition creeps across the face.
It is a quantum leap in the forward movement department.
What stories are you telling yourself? Do you need a place that is safe and believing to tell your negative phrases and to share your deepest wounds? Be prepared, for one day you may throw them all out in the compost heap. Be prepared, one day they will no longer serve as they once did. Be prepared, your sense of self will explode out of those tight fitting clothes of shame, guilt, trauma, because you’ve grown. Be prepared.