We all have a “life story” that we tell ourselves. But did you know that the “life story” you created in childhood is not only an illusion created by your ego; it has the power to control your life.
Before you emotionally reject what I’m saying, let me explain what I mean. Your “life story” from childhood is not who you “are”. It‘s ancient history; a story created by your childhood primitive ego about your childhood. It’s not a current reality. In fact, if you can learn to change your childhood “life story”——it could change the way you live your life.
When my therapist shared that insight with me early in my own therapy many years ago, my first reaction was —-“Yea right. He obviously didn’t experience my childhood!” The pain of childhood was still very real for me at the time. My “life story” was filled with sadness. I could remember very clearly the sadness I felt as a seven year old standing on the street in front of my home one evening wondering what it would be like if I lived in one of the other homes on my street.
Fortunately my therapist was patient with me as I struggled to embrace the simple message he was holding up for me to look at. He insisted that if I could a) identify the two or three key primary themes embedded in my childhood “life story”, and b) recognize that I did not have to live or be that story, it would change my life.
Changing Your “Life Story”
It took time, but I was eventually able to identify three primary themes that consistently ran through my childhood “life story”. The first theme was invisibility, the second was being held responsible for everything bad that happened in my family, and the third was my need to be in control of my life.
As these three themes became more clear to me, I began to “see” how I’d learned to make myself invisible as a way to reduce the hurt I felt when my childhood world made me invisible. I came to “see” how blame in my childhood “life story” had not only convinced me that intimacy was dangerous, I was able to see how the fear of intimacy was now responsible for creating much of the pain I was experiencing in my adult life. I could see that I’d learned to disengage and emotionally isolate myself from those around me so I could distance myself from the hurt I felt when I was blamed for the pain that others in my family projected onto me. And finally, I understood my lack of trust and how exhausted I felt needing to be in control of everything in my world.
The survival skills I’d developed to cope with childhood were effective in childhood, but I was beginning to understand they were not working very well in my adult life. With my therapist’s help I learned to see those three primary themes from my “life story” as ancient history. I began to understand that I needed to awaken to the reality of the world I was now living in——that my “story” needed to be rewritten. It needed to embrace who I had actually become, not the person I was in childhood.
The Re-Interpretation Process
I could not change the experiences of childhood, but I could choose how to re-interpret them. Over time I came to “see” those experiences as sources of wisdom. They were the life experiences that taught me the importance of dropping my self-imposed invisibility and learning to more openly claim my strengths; to live life with more authenticity. They were the experiences that taught me to “see” and empathize with others who also struggle with a fear of intimacy; those who struggle to find the courage to be emotionally connected and risk the possibility of being hurt. They were the experiences that taught me the importance of just letting things be as they are, to live life as a process and stop pushing the river.
I am grateful for that therapist and his patience. It takes time to change the way we see the world, but awakening our consciousness to the childhood illusions and survival skills unconsciously embedded in our “life story” is an important learning. When we begin to grow and awaken to our “life story”, we come to understand that every experience life has offered us is simply another opportunity to learn the lesson embedded in that experience.
Today, the learning’s from my three “life story” themes are the spiritual wisdoms that more than any other empower and energize my life purpose——-helping others to awaken from the illusions and survival skill of childhood, learn to embrace their life purpose, helping them to discover the reason they were born, and helping them become the person they were meant to become———–just as the experiences of childhood helped me become the person I was meant to become.