One of the tools we use here at the school with ourselves and our clients is Finding a New Thought. We teach that nothing in the past ever is the cause for our emotion now. What we think about our past is what is causing our emotion now. It only has the power we give it.
Make sure you catch this line: There were 3 girls who were mean to me and 378 other kids in my class who were not.
HEALING OLD PAIN WITH THE POWER OF A NEW STORY
I hated high school. That’s what I had always told myself, anyway. That feeling of never quite fitting in, being the target of some mean-girl behavior, and hanging my worth on a single boy who could never give me the validation I was seeking were reasons enough to want to bury my past. I didn’t like myself much in high school and I set my sights on moving forward, never wanting to look back.
Fast forward to 2009 and my discovery of Facebook. Though I used it to connect with my current friends and to network my business, I managed to stay under the radar of my former classmates. This gave me some comfort in a weird way, as I was happy keeping my past at bay. Then in late 2010, a classmate whom I had known since the 6th grade sent me a friend request. I was so happy to hear from him that I clicked “accept” without hesitation. This resulted in a dozen more friend requests once our Facebook friendship got posted on his news feed. I won’t lie, I felt a rush of panic.
All of a sudden, people from my past were seeking me out and I had to coach myself on the slight feeling of fear that came up. I quickly realized that I still had some residual feelings about being bullied and I had to remind myself of an important fact: There were 3 girls who were mean to me and 378 other kids in my class who were not. When I saw that I was blocking potential friendships in the present with an irrational fear from the past, I decided to drop it right then and there. I clicked “accept” on every single person who sought my friendship and what came of that was something I never expected in a million years: I ended up co-creating a committee to put on our 25th high school reunion.
Seriously? How did that happen? I went from dodging my past to being in the spotlight with three other classmates as we formed a group page to kept everyone updated on the plans of our big event. I made dozens of connections over the months leading up to our party and I was very active on our group page. So, on the day of the reunion, I felt completely at ease welcoming each guest at they walked though the door into the restaurant. No fear, just love. The party was a huge hit and all night people kept coming up to me, hugging me and telling me how much they appreciated all the hard work the committee did to put on such a fabulous event. The renewed connections I had made with my classmates grew a little bit deeper each time my eyes met theirs and I felt their genuine gratitude.
My favorite moment of the night was a quiet one. I stood at the check-in desk and scanned the entire room. My lips curled into a warm smile as I watched my classmates connect with one another. This moment in time was unfolding exactly in this particular way because I had opened my heart and released the past.
Funny, I am now unable to say the words “I hated high school.” I find that I don’t believe that anymore. Nothing about my past has changed, except the story I choose to tell about it. I cry tears of relief as I type this, feeling completely healed after finally freeing myself from past high school pain. All I can think about now is how much love was in that room the night of the party and how much joy can be had when you drop the fear and allow the fun.
What potential joys are you blocking because of fear? What old pain are you keeping alive today with the story you continue to tell about it? I invite you to get out your journal or a piece of paper and start writing. Tell yourself the facts of the situation and then write down your current story about it. You will likely find that the fear (or pain) only exists because of the story you are choosing to tell yourself at this moment. The beauty about stories is that they can be changed. If you want to feel better about something, what is the story you could tell yourself that is in support of the outcome you seek? Decide what that is for you and then keep telling that new story. I mean, really, if you are going to tell yourself a story, at least make it a good one!