Get world class free training to discover your purpose when you pick up a copy of Mastin's new book! → Check it out!

Everyone Loves A Good Story: How To Drop Your Story In The New Year!

As I was getting ready for the changeover into the New Year, I was thinking about the one best gifts I could give myself. As I was driving over to my best friend’s house for dinner, what came up for me was this: giving up my stories.

People by nature are storytellers – and one of the things we love most is to listen to a good story. We all remember the stories of our childhood – whether they are fairytales, family legends passed down from our grandparents, our favorite myths and legends, or classic tales of good and evil. Stories help us make sense of our complicated lives, our relationships, and of both our good and challenging experiences.

The thing is, when we are told stories, we pretty much know that they aren’t true; they are fictional. But sometimes, a really amazing storyteller can engage us so fully, that we forget we’re hearing a story because it seems so dang real. I mean, who doesn’t love a good story?

Anyway, enter me, Dana: master storyteller. 

I have been telling myself stories my entire life – some good and empowering (especially when I was little and I thought I could rule the freakin’ world! – you know, SUPER CAPITAL D-DANA), but many have also been critical, contemptuous, and disempowering (especially when I was living from the outside in and believed what others said and thought about me… and when I gave a lot of power to the media – all outside stuff). The latter stories have kept me small and fearful (you know, small lower-case d-dana).

When I look back on my life, I can chronicle the stages of stories I told myself; I won’t bore you with the particulars, but let’s just say that I have been telling my stories over and over (to myself and others) until they have become true – even if they started out as fiction. 

I have realized just in the past few years that my stories are, well, mine (OMG!) – and mostly FICTION. I mean, I am the one to assign meaning to the events and relationships in my life, and I get to choose the stories that operate and work for me. Which also means (thank GOD) that I get to drop the stories that don’t work anymore.

And guess what? Some of my stories are getting so damn boring and old. I just can’t listen to them anymore, and I can only imagine how sick and tired my friends are of the stories that keep me pissing and moaning in a completely pathetic victim role. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH (kind of like the teacher in Charlie Brown, right?). These stories have kept me in fear, and have prevented me from stepping outside my comfort zone into brave, passionate, and energetic ME. 

I mean, SHUT UP ALREADY!

So, it’s time to drop my stories.  

Here are some of the stories I’ve heard throughout my life (TOP SECRET: MOST OF THEM ARE MY OWN, LOL!):

  • my family was dysfunctional 
  • there’s not enough money for that
  • the government controls everything
  • nobody likes me
  • I’m not smart enough
  • guys always treat me like crap
  • I didn’t go to the right school
  • I’m not skinny enough
  • my parents never understood me
  • where’s my stuff?
  • I don’t have a partner
  • I was never pretty enough
  • I shouldn’t have to work so hard
  • I don’t have enough experience
  • there’s no quality single people out there
  • my parents are embarrassing
  • I was supposed to be taken care of
  • I’m a single parent
  • I grew up in a small town
  • I don’t have the right connections
  • someone is better than no one
  • I’m not one of the lucky ones
  • I’m screwed no matter what

Now, I could take any one of these statements and weave an intricate and detailed story around it – filling in all the characters, the setting, the conflict, and the plot (btw, these stories have a circular plot – as in, they always start over and end at the beginning again!). In general, I will say that the specifics don’t matter, but the general storyline is what keeps coming back into our lives. 

AND GUESS WHAT?

We choose it cuz’ we keep retelling it, and the more we keep the story alive, the more we draw back into our lives the same old story! Get it? We create our reality based on our story…which is  precisely  why  we need  to DROP the fear-based stories that no longer move us toward our biggest, juiciest, most powerful selves!

I can tell I’m close to ready to drop a story when I start to get sick of hearing it myself, or when one of my besties asks, “When are you going to be done with THAT story?” In which case I might keep retelling it anyway, knowing the sails are ready to drop soon… 

What are some of the stories that you are ready to drop? I challenge you to list 5 stories you are bored of hearing yourself tell (if you can’t think of any, ask your closest chums… they’ll have a list in no time!). I can’t think of a better time than New Year’s to DROP our stories. When you think of your own life, what stories have you told yourself that have kept you in a place of paralysis, apathy, resentment, or fear? 

I’m not saying the stories are bad and/or wrong in any way… as a matter of fact, I thank many of my stories for sustaining me and keeping me safe when I didn’t know where to turn or have anyone to talk to. But there comes a time when we must move past our stories and weave new, empowering tales.

While I believe these stories have a time and purpose in our lives, we all get to  place in our inner work when it’s time to let go and rewrite our stories. SO, what next? This part may take some time, but don’t bypass it – it may also get boring and repetitive (just like your story, get it?). You can either do this in writing, or with a tape recorder.

  1. First, look at your initial list of old stories. Choose the story that causes you the most pain or that keeps you the most paralyzed and/or stuck.
  2. Let a trusted friend know that you are doing this process; if you don’t feel comfortable alone, have your friend stay with you while you undergo this process.
  3. Sit quietly and comfortably, and really become the character in your own story. What do you smell? What do you see? Who is with you? What do you experience? What words and phrases do you hear over and over again? What pain do you keep re-experiencing in this story?
  4. Light a candle, and get even more comfortable.
  5. Either write out your story on paper or tell your story into a tape recorder. Be as detailed and repetitive as you can. Your story may be 3 pages or it may be 25, it may be 15 minutes or 2 hours – use your intuition as a guide; you will know when you are done.
  6. Do some reflection about what this story has cost you – in your relationships, in your values, in your lifestyle, your financial well-being, your work life, your family, and whatever else comes to mind. 
  7. Also, reflect on how the story has sustained you and helped you survive and even thrive in the face of hardship. Remember, your story has served a purpose, or it would not be part of your experience. Thank your story for its place in your journey.
  8. Be kind to yourself throughout this process, and be grateful for your story.
  9. Either read your story to a trusted friend, or listen to the tape recording with a friend. Listen to it as many times as it takes to get to the point where you can no longer listen – until you can practically recite it word for word or you may even find yourself giggling! REMEMBER: it’s fiction.
  10. When you feel a shift in your attachment to the story, do a ritual around letting go of the story. First, take ownership for your story, bless your story, and thank your story for serving you. If you wrote it out, you may want to burn the story, extinguish the candle, and take a cleansing bath. You’ll know what to do.
  11. After you have completed this exercise, see how much lighter you feel; you may also feel sadness, or grief, or an “emptying” feeling. It’s all good, and part of the process. 

You may feel inklings of your old story coming back from time to time – that’s natural. Your story has been around for a while. If that’s the case, don’t panic – you can simply notice the story’s return, acknowledge it like a vaguely familiar face, wave to it briefly, and turn the other way.

It’s time to exist in the present. What’s your (new and improved) story going to be? You are the creator of your own reality, and of your hero(ine)’s journey.

Lots of Love!

Dana

###

Dana Lynne Curry, Ph.D., has been teaching middle school English (with no low bun) for over 23 years. She is a grateful writer, storyteller, teacher and student. Find Dana at funfreeME and on Twitter.

  • Erika

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    • danalynnecurry

      So happy to share my experience!
      Happy “You” Year!
      Dana

    • The Daily Love

      Thank you for reading, Erika! Glad that you enjoyed!!
      -Team TDL

  • Cher

    Dana, Thank you for not only sharing your story, but for giving me the details of how I can let go of my stories and begin living in the present. Sometimes I read a blog that really resonates with me, but it gives no guidance on how to achieve xy or z.

    Have a wonderful New year.
    Cher

    • danalynnecurry

      So happy to share and glad to be of help. Happy New Year! It is already amazing!
      Lots of love,
      Dana

    • The Daily Love

      Cher, we are so happy to hear that you have found this helpful! LOVE to you!!!
      -Team TDL

  • ray

    great post. and i agree that we all love telling our stories even though we desperately want and expect them to just change over night.
    stories i’m standing to stop telling:
    1. i’ll always be alone, no man will ever want to commit to me long -term – not true
    2. i am not going to heal and will be a burden on my friends and family – not true
    3. i had trauma happen to me when i was young and so i will always carry the wounds from that – not true
    4. i’m in a depressive rut and don’t know how to change my life for the better – not true
    5. i won’t ever experience true happiness and peace and love unless i find the right man to be with – not true.

    thanks for that! going to work on the retelling of new empowered stories!!

    • danalynnecurry

      Hey Ray–
      Thanks for the comment! One thing I’ve done with my old stories is rewrite them in the present in a positive manner; for example:
      1. I am always in the presence of the infinite and I am never alone; my commitment to myself attracts a long-term, committed relationship for me at the perfect time.
      Good luck on you new adventure!
      Blessings,
      Dana

  • Vanessa Waters

    This is awesome! I really relate to this especially right now!

    Through sheer will I have overcome so much which includes incredible transformation but in certain conversations I still end up that girl who was sexually abused.

    I don’t know how that happens but now I have a toolbox to begin fixing it.

    What I do know is that part of me just wants to inspire people. I want them to know that you can overcome anything you set your mind to, that you don’t have to be afraid, that you can still have a great sex life, a loving relationship, and everything beyond your wildest dreams.

    Another inspiration for sharing that story is that I will never forget the AHA moment in my life when Oprah admitted to being sexually abused on TV. I was about fourteen and I admired her so much. I thought to myself WOW if she is fine then I can be too.

    I wonder what she would think if she knew the ripples of impact she had just on me personnally and I have always that that one day I would sit down and write her a letter to thank her.

    That AHA moment set me on a course that has actually given me the clue to the direction I am taking my life. I love her for that.

    I have begun approaching schools to share my story (in a re-vamped way) and spread awareness about sexual because the statistics haven’t changed and it breaks my heart.

    If I can help one girl it will be worth it.

    • danalynnecurry

      Hey Vanesa–
      I just got chills reading your comment. I, too, have always been THAT girl who came from an alcoholic family, who had an eating disorder (insert story) . . . but I know and trust the Universe hands us experiences that point us in the direction of our life purpose . . . even though the experiences suck. I remember going through my divorce trying to stay in gratitude . . . on of the darkest parts of my life . . . and no helping other women in ______ relationships come out the other side stronger, more centered, and more purposeful. I have attracted these women in my life because it’s part of my purpose.
      And, who knew that my addiction to food would actually help sustain me in my family of origin, and then 30 years later help me understand and manage my daughter’s nutrition as it relates to her diabetes?
      We are blessed and some of us are fortunate to know it.
      You sound like you are going to turn your pain around and use it as a gift to others. Freaking amazing how that works, huh?
      Please keep in touch.
      Blessings,
      Dana

      • Vanessa Waters

        Yes I have finally come full circle and thank you for affirming that so eloquently.

        It is truly amazing how life comes right up to meet you when you are willing to actually take an objective look at your pain and speak your truth.

        I wouldn’t have dared to comment before but now that I am these connections are life affirming because I just know I am on the right course.

        I’ll keep in touch.

        Blessings to you too.

        Vanessa