It’s Time To Drop The Stories That Are Holding You Back

Ashley CebulkaI think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there.

You have every intention in the world of going after what you want with gusto, yet before you know it, your stories filled with doubt stop you dead in your tracks.

It’s time to let go of those energy vampires once and for all. Free up your energy for more passion and fun.

I can only say this now because I’ve been there.

I recently let go of a story that had been lingering inside me for a while, and I have to say—it was a huge relief.

It started when my mom was admitted to the hospital for an acute asthma attack, which was scary for several reasons. For one, I never want to see my parents sick, let alone having an incredibly hard time breathing. Not to mention my paralyzing fear around hospitals.

I was never afraid of needles or blood, or anything close to that. It was the life experiences I had in hospitals when I was younger.  I had seen my older brother go through countless surgeries in his early twenties and watched him nearly die. He was my hero, so watching those events were traumatic and seared a scar into any memory pertaining to hospitals.

I would feel a slight (often not so slight) panic in my chest any time I walked through the doors of that sterile environment. The smell alone would immediately make me nauseous. All of my memories and fears would quickly wash over me.

I tried whipping out every tool, affirmation, meditation, and breathing technique my brain could remember in attempts to bring me into the present moment. Sometimes it worked, but most often it didn’t.

Fast forward to the present moment. Here I am about to walk into the hospital after my mom has been rushed in by ambulance for her serious lack of oxygen. Normally this would lead to the ultimate panic attack with my track record, but instead I told myself, “It’s not going to go down that way. Not this time.”

I had a choice —I could freak out and entertain all that had happened in the past, and all the scary things that could happen in the future if my mom’s health didn’t improve. I could give life to the stories of, “What if this is more serious than asthma?” or, “What if I’m not here and something happens to her?” Instead, I chose to drop the stories all together, take a deep breathe and experience relief within myself and connection with my mom. I wanted to make the most out of every moment with her right now.

Of course those sneaky, devilish stories tried to creep back in during that week. They were full of ‘what ifs’. “What if she doesn’t get better? What if this leads to something more serious, and the nurses don’t get to her in time? What if they misdiagnose her and she gets worse? Then what?” These thoughts shook me to my core. I didn’t want to feel that way, I wanted to be strong, and more importantly, I wanted to be present for my mom.

In that moment, I realized the only reason I was upset, short of breath and about to freak out, was because of the story I was telling myself.

Those stories took me away from paying attention to what’s happening right now. My mom is healthy in her hospital bed, with wonderful doctors helping her. She has all the help she could ever really need. She is surrounded by people she loves, and breathing like a champ. Heck, she even smiled while doing her breathing treatments and asked when the next episode of The Voice was going to come on. Sigh–gotta love the small comical moments in the midst of chaos.

So I did just that—I let go of the stories, and let me tell you—what a game changer that was! It was one big sigh of relief, while being surprisingly energizing. I realized just how powerful it was to let go of the s#!% that was weighing me down.

I drank that in for minute—ahh the beautiful power of our imagination—it can create worlds. Or it can construct a serious case of worries and quickly put our panties in a bunch. We get to choose, which is actually quite liberating.

Later that night, I thought of all the stories I dropped over the years, and all the freedom I experienced as a result. The fears of never finding love, of being that girl who dreams too big, or the woman who shouldn’t possibly start a business during a recession. I dropped all those stories. Every. Single. One.

What happened as a result? Freedom in every sense of the word. I started living fully—every inch of my life with a renewed sense of confidence. I took more risks and showed myself what I was made of. I found love, opened the business, and fell in love with my dreams. I got comfortable with being uncomfortable as I moved through fear. Which eventually made it not so daunting.

Everyone of us can write a new story in any given moment. We can create a new ending and a different beginning. It all starts with the choice to focus on what we want and ditch the ‘what ifs’.

Let’s do it together—drop the stories and pick up freedom. (Tweet-worthy!)

What stories could you drop that don’t serve you anymore? Let me know in the comments below!




Ash Cebulka’s passion for life is palpable. As a Certified Lifestyle Consultant, her mission is to help you to trust your intuition and empower yourself to listen to your desires so you can live a life you truly love. You can visit her website here, find her on Facebook here, and follow her on Twitter here.

  • sandy

    It all starts with the choice to focus on what we want and ditch the ‘what ifs’.EXACTLY! Thanks for posting.

  • Anna

    Dear Ashley, your story hits close to home for me. My mom has an illness named COPD. It is a lung disease, which destroy the lungs completely. Without donor lungs, she won’t get to live much longer. Last year she has spend almost eight months in the hospital. And my father recently passed away due to heart failure. For me that was out of the blue, he died in his sleep on his birthday. After months of traveling back and forth, I then decided to pack up my belongings and move from the city (after five years of living on my own) back to the country. In the city, I had been building a life for myself. I’m a graphic design graduate, a talented one I like to believe. I am also a shoe customizer. And all I do know is worry about the future concerning my mom’s health and taking care of her and the household. It takes up a lot of my time. It’s almost all I do, next to a cleaning job to pay the bills. I’m not active in my workfield, I haven’t dated in over a year. I gained 40 pounds. I’m so far from what I dream of. As if the disease is consuming her and also me. From having my own life, and feeling like an individual, a young woman, I now feel like a 35 year old mom. I became a fulltime caretaker. Where does that leave me? What do you suggest I do?

  • Paula Jones

    Thank you for this beautiful story. Sometimes it’s the last thing on our minds that we don’t have to believe all the thoughts in our head, especially when we’re mired in the stories. Thank for you the beautiful reminder.

  • billie lue

    Rubbish text. pathetic excuse to get 5 mins of attention. desperate.