What if you don’t have to believe that any more?

What if you don’t have to believe those stories you tell yourself any more?

Think of the stuff that you believe about yourself. Most of it’s not really friendly or useful, right?

Some of the stories I have believed about myself (and these are just my examples — your mileage may certainly vary):

  • Of course it’s hard for me to let someone in, to be intimate and vulnerable — because I’m a rape survivor.
  • I can’t really connect in community; I have to hold myself back — because I was in a cult for over 20 years and I have to be careful about masters looking for disciples.
  • I don’t have what it takes to feel healthy and vital again — because some physical conditions have hung on long enough that I believe they’re permanent.

There was no way I could shift around any of these by force of will. Nope. I’ve tried. 
I’ve done forgiveness work. Journaling. Therapy. 12-step. Retreats. More therapy. Thankfully, years of working on myself helped so much. I’m an entirely different person. I’m not so armored; I’m much less rigid. And yet, there are still some deeply ingrained areas of resistance. Of stuckness.

Defenses that I came up with to protect myself in difficult circumstances ended up sticking around much longer than the circumstances themselves. The challenge passed, but I held on to the defense mechanism and built armor out of it.

Sound familiar?

believeThankfully, even a little bit of softening and just a few cracks can let in a ton of light and insight. 

I’ve heard that the more time you spend looking toward the sun, instead of scowling at the clouds, the more light you’ll see.

Here’s one way this gentle and liberating insight came to me (as I was driving on the freeway right around the Equinox a couple of weeks ago):

For years, when I noticed the calendar turning toward the darker days, I’d find myself tensing and contracting, and thinking familiar thoughts like, “Oh, it’s getting darker earlier. I don’t like that. Because it’s the start of the season when happiness and ease feel so much more out of reach for me.” I saw how I really believe that I don’t do well in the darker months, that the longer nights and increased darkness weighs down my tender and fragile heart. I have quite the story about it.

But in that moment, when I noticed the beauty the change in the angle of the light was causing me to see, I found myself feeling pleasure and excitement (yup, not just that old dread). I noticed that the colors on the gorgeous California hillsides I was rolling through were different, even compared to just a week earlier. What a marvel to notice that the green on the trees is much richer and the gold of the grasses more burnished — altogether deeper, darker, and different.

In that moment I realized that I’m not doomed to repeat my past, including what I’ve called seasonal depression and an aversion to short days and longer nights.

How long have I been telling myself this story? Twenty years? More?

In all those winters, I know I’ve had moments of joy, of satisfaction, of awe, of fun, of excitement. But do I think of those? Not first. Not easily. Not often. Because I tell myself a story that it’s the calendar that makes it harder for me to be happy.

I’m gonna use some strong language here. Piffle.

I don’t have to believe that any more.

I’d rather look at the light I can see than bitch about the clouds. Or the darkness. (How many metaphors does a girl need? Oy!)

#learningtosee #lifeasitis #artisagamechanger​​​​​​​

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Sue

I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Lively conversation!

  1. Heather says

    The sun always makes me happy. Even when there are clouds or darkness I still find ways to make me happy. It’s important for our wellness. Thank you for sharing your post.

  2. Krystal says

    Hi Sue! Oh the stories we tell ourselves! I am reminded of an Abraham Hick quote “A belief is just a thought you keep thinking.” We created our reality and our thoughts definitely lead us to our point of attraction. I love the idea of seeing the light that’s there. There’s so much of the light available to relish in! Wishing you love as you look to the light and spend time getting to know it. <3

    • Sue says

      Hi Krystal, Thanks for sharing that quote; I love it!

      You made me smile, wishing me love as I spend time getting to know the light. Lucky for me, my appreciation of light and love isn’t contingent with my comfort level with same. Because that’s something else I’ve been learning to develop: a toleration for joy, for light, for love.

      What a miracle, to have that opening when I was so guarded and closed off and dark for so long.

  3. CK Kochis says

    I love this quote: “I’d rather look at the light I can see than bitch about the clouds. Or the darkness.” YES! Perspective is a key element to shifting how we feel. We are the writers of our stories and we can edit our manuscript to better serve our emotional way of being. And, truly… can a gal have too many metaphors? I don’t think so.

    • Sue says

      Hey there, CK, Thanks for the feedback. I love this: “we can edit our manuscript to better serve our emotional way of being.” At this moment, I’d say “…to better reflect…” as I’m starting to understand that there’s a constant sweet state of emotional balance always there, if I can just stop staring at the clouds long enough to recognize it.

  4. Kharmin says

    Good mid-day, Sue!
    As the temperatures tend toward the shorter end of the thermometer, i find myself tensing against the “Oh! Brrrrrr – Dark and Cold is coming!! Yikes!”
    So many self-defense stories we’ve made up for ourselves over the years, that often stick around far longer than whatever they were defending against.

    This will be my second winter in the northern tier – Minnesota – and the natives here are all about “ooh! Winter’s on it’s way – next week, dontchya know!”
    Meanwhile, I’m keeping me eyes and my attention on the light and bright (however much there is or isn’t) and the season of clearing and letting go of what no longer serves me!

    Blessings to your clearing, too, Sue <3

  5. Reba Linker says

    I love the message of this post, Sue, but even more, I love the energy you share in your writing. I feel the ease, the softening, the moving on, the joy, the wonder, the vulnerability – and it’s all so beautiful and miraculous. Thank you.

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