Updated: Sep 14, 2020
I am a cheerful, enthusiastic person. You might never guess to look at me that I have also battled a deep, persistent sadness since I was a tween. It’s what drove me to become a counsellor - a burning desire to help myself, and to figure out how to keep anyone else from feeling the way I felt.
To keep the sadness at bay, I adopted a strict regiment of exercise, meditation, journaling, and freely used all the tools in my counsellor’s toolbox, and that worked adequately well - until I had my daughter. Postpartum is a B.
About 15 months after she was born, I realized I was in a hole so deep that I could no longer see the way out. I was irritable, possessive over my daughter, and starting fights with my husband all the time. I didn’t have the time to do any of the self-care activities I used to, and I couldn’t pretend things were okay anymore.
When I told my husband about the sadness, I think a lightbulb went on for him. The strain in our marriage, the way I was with Sasha, it all started to make sense for him. He was instantly and unendingly supportive. I’m so lucky. He started to take Sasha every morning so I could meditate and journal. I started to incorporate exercise into my routine with Sasha, and I was feeling a little bit better. But I still felt stuck, especially in my career. I didn’t know how to get over those old feelings of inadequacy, of unworthiness. I thought about this for weeks, trying to figure out why DOING all the “right” things wasn’t changing my limiting beliefs, my STORY about what I’m capable of.
And then it struck me. My story. I had been telling it a lot lately - how I couldn’t take up space in the world because I was the youngest of 4 girls and didn’t want to be a burden on my parents. How I had this belief that my feelings didn’t matter, and I wasn’t able to express them so I shoved them deep inside. We all have these stories. We all feel we have to act a certain way in our formative years in order to be loved - maybe we think we have to be funny or be an over-achiever or be responsible for everyone. But we may not realize how these stories about ourselves, these stories about who we have to be in the world in order to be accepted and loved, pull the strings in our lives. My story was dictating my life, and it was suddenly so clear. The way to shed myself of these limiting beliefs and to finally SHINE BRIGHTLY was by changing my story.
So I physically re-wrote the story of my past. In this version, instead of being the victim, I was the hero. My isolation no longer made me invisible - instead, it made me creative, passionate, independent. Feeling unworthy no longer made me depressed; instead, it made me compassionate and gave me the desire to see others as their very best selves, making me an incredible counsellor. I started to re-frame everything in my life, even the stories I told myself about my husband, about my daughter. I realized this superpower could help me see EVERY aspect of my life in a way that supported the life I wanted to live. And changing my story wasn’t a lie. I was simply focusing on different aspects of the story than I was used to focusing on.
If you’re feeling stuck, I urge you to try changing your story around who you are in that aspect of your life. Your life is a collection of stories you tell yourself. Tell a new story. Change your life.