Letting Go Of Old Stories

I have a few stories I tell about myself. They’re not really entertaining. In fact, a lot of the time they’re quite boring. But they’re like old friends. I’ve had them in my life so long, and even though they probably aren’t good for me, I keep them around. Do you have stories like this that you tell yourself? If you’re like me you have made a good case supporting them. I have stories and evidence to support my stories!

Feel the freedom in letting go, let old stories be like clouds, floating away. (Image by TVP)

I have a friend who is tired of being alone and wants to meet a man; she wants a partner. And it’s only in realizing that I tell myself the same type stories about different parts of my life that I realized she’s doing exactly that. She’s all alone; she has no support system, no friends that really care about her. Her family puts more time and energy into her brother and his family than they do with her. She’s not valued or appreciated. She’s all alone… and so it goes. My stories? Well, I actually have a hard time pinpointing them because they’re so ingrained! I don’t even recognize them as stories at this point. Ha. So how do I let go of these stories that I’ve kept around for far too long?

Well, letting go is a practice. And in the beginning, I’m reminding myself all the time, hey, this is a story of what was, not what’s going on now… Letting go is about releasing. And it’s a state of freedom. Who doesn’t want to be free from thinking these kind of thoughts, “I’m a loser. No one loves me. I’m alone. And I have no love in my life. My work is stale. I’m not sure I’m good at anything. I have no grand passion in my life. I don’t care about anything.”? I do!

Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself that may help you in the process of letting go:

What stories do I keep retelling that keep me experiencing them in life? Basically, what am I saying to myself that brings more evidence to me that I’m right. Because the story keeps perpetuating the experience I’m telling (complaining) about. One thing about this is that I’ve had to be willing to explore who I am without these past roles and stories. It helps me to imagine them like clouds. I keep them moving when they appear. I’m slowly tuning into who I am without these stories. Good news, sometimes the process isn’t that slow! Oftentimes, just by naming it, the story disappears.

What are the stories I tell about my past? Are they accurate? Do they reflect who and where I am right now? Can I let them go? When I ask these kinds of questions I find I am able release these old tales from the past. This is where meditation is so helpful. It’s hard to hold onto a story about myself in the past, present or how I’ll be in the future, when I’m present. When I’m present, I’m not fretting, worried or angry.

The other question I really find useful is, what beliefs hold me back from living freely? Even when I can’t find an answer, I’ve discovered that just in the asking, I feel lighter. It’s like dreading looking at your credit card statement, then once you do, even if it’s bad, it’s been exposed to sunlight and seems manageable.

Are you like my friend with these kind of core beliefs about not having support, not having love, not being good enough, not feeling secure? I find when I look at beliefs like this, I know they aren’t really true. And they aren’t true for my friend. She is well-loved and supported. She has many, many friends, and she has many wonderful experiences and encounters with all kinds of people.

One of our writers at Happiness Series, Peter Ferko, turned me onto Byron Katie. And she has something she calls, “The Work”, which consists of 4 questions to ask about a story:

“Ask the questions, then go inside and wait for the deeper answers to surface.

1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without the thought?

Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation. After you have investigated your statement with the four questions, you’re ready to turn around the concept you’re questioning. Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.”

There’s another thing I like to do. I write a new story about myself. Here are some statements that might work for you (you could even put them through the Bryon Kate 4 questions test!) “I am understood by the people I interact with. I’m having fun expanding and growing in work and life. I know how to lean towards the life that I’m in (lean in!). I’m really enjoying how my life is beginning to unfold. Things are coming easier and easier. I have fun wherever I am. New ideas are flowing to me constantly. I love the people that are surrounding me.”

One final tip. Meditate more and make up fewer stories.

Hope these questions and tips help you as much as they have me! Letting go is freedom.




Filed Under: Things We Love


About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.

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