I heard this sad, exquisitely beautiful refrain waft up from Lee’s piano. It stopped me in my tracks, as is often the case when I hear him compose something new. The lyrics, “Take a sad song and make it better’ (Hey Jude, The Beatles) came to mind. With thoughts racing, I realized that this is a theme for the story I tell of my life.
The whole idea of the “story we tell” is making the rounds in the psychotherapy world. Brene Brown talks about it in Rising Strong, along with others. The intent of this is to realize that at any time, we can change the story we tell about our life. I started doing that early on, the last thing I wanted was to focus on the sad story.
Now, I teach and help others find new ways to reframe their life stories. Here are some thoughts on how that works.
UNDERSTAND THE PAIN
Sadness was something I dealt with early in life. Both my parents died when I was young. In those days, people didn’t understand or allow talk about feelings, you were expected to simply go on. So, it was a lonely experience to address my saddness. Lee’s father died young too and he had many years of depression.
What’s important is to put a word with the emotional experience, put it in context and normalize it. It’s the “of course I feel sad, mad, or hurt because this thing happened, anyone would feel like this” line of thinking. Equally important is to understand how your emotions about what happened can become a story of shame, pity, blame or failure. It is the story that you need to pay attention to. If the story becomes an anchor that holds you back, makes you feel bad, or you look for evidence to support it over and over, it’s time to change it.
LEARN TO QUICKLY FIND THE SILVER LINING
After a year of being very sad, I had an epiphany that allowed me to see the silver lining of my experience. My life was very different, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was able to gain perspective that allowed me to see the gifts of the changes. What I was doing was using the Law of Cause and Effect.
This is a skill set anyone can learn. You stand back and look at the Cause-and-Effect relationship between what happened and where you are today. Notice how one event effects what happens next. Even if the effects that you are experiencing are negative, it can become the motivation to make changes. Find where you have a choice and make the best one for you. Bad things are often the catalyst for spectacular change – and that is always a good thing.
WORK WITH THE OPPOSITE – WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
As a child I knew that I didn’t want pity over my losses, and if I wanted happy interactions with people, I had to be happy. I steered clear of negative feelings and focused on the positive. Now I understand, I was working with the Law of Polarity. I was focusing on what I wanted.
This is also a skill you can develop. If you want to move your thoughts and feelings to a better place, realize what the opposite holds for you and begin to look for it. Again, choose to focused attention on what it is you are wanting. Learning to manage your thoughts and feelings in tandem is one of the most important skills you can develop. This kind of self-control gives you mastery over your life. It takes time, and may require support, but it is life altering.
Lee’s beautiful music brought to mind one of my life lessons that changed the story I tell. We can learn to change and alter the story of our life from one that is negative and victim filled to one that is victorious. It requires starting with an honest understanding of your feelings and your story. When you understand the cause-and-effect relationship, you can change the story to one you want by seeing the silver lining and taking responsibility for the change. When you stay focused on the positive effects you desire, you are empowered and you begin to rewrite your story!
Does this ring true for you? If you’d like to explore it more, my Transformational Coaching and Therapy offers the support. Reach out through www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my Free Consultation link to reach me. I’d love /to hear from you.
*While this new song is not recorded yet, you can hear Lee’s other music on Spotify – Lee Carroll’s C The Beat.