There’s a great saying that goes something along the lines of, ‘you cannot change the past, but you can change the story that you believe or tell yourself of the past’. I find it amazing how in retrospect we can alter our views of situations, conversations, people and events.
In a situation recently I was angry over something that happened to me. Really upset. After a bit of time, after taking on and debating other peoples opinions, after dwelling on ‘what if’s’ for far too long, I really started to feel uncomfortable with the negativity inside me. I simply ‘got over’ the scenario that was swimming around in my head. I felt defeated by what I kept telling myself, and believing it to be true.
I’ve read a lot about gratitude and being thankful for what happens in our lives. I can apply this philosophy to all the great things that happen to me – working at a great job, living in a great place, having wonderful friends. I guess I wanted to try this in a situation where I wouldn’t normally, one which I had thought was a bad thing to happen. I decided to re-look at the story I was telling myself.
For all the negative emotion I was harnessing (and encouraging) there was also a lot of joy gained in the situation. Focusing on the joy helped alter the story of the situation and allowed me to let go of all the crap I was clinging to.
Letting go of the drama gave me the clarity to appreciate what I’d experienced, rather than feel paralysed by the outcome.
It was challenging, no doubt about it. It did take time and practice to catch myself when I was slipping back into the negative space. I’m still not there, but I will be. Just a little more time, and a lot less dwelling is what will get me there.
Experiment a little…
Try it for yourself, think of something you’ve regretted in the past, or that you’ve viewed as a negative outcome. Apply a layer of gratitude to the situation or person and focus on what ‘you’ gained or learned from the situation.
You could write it down, sit somewhere relaxing and daydream about the joyous parts of it, paint it…
However you choose to re-tell the situation try to focus on how you’ve grown, not the drama of it.