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If You Don’t Like Your Story, Change It: Part 1

by Gretchen Belenchia

The Triple A Method: Awareness, Appreciation, Action
Part 1: Awareness

At the beginning of my second year studying Chinese Medicine, my friend and I went on a hike. We chatted along the way, and I began to tell one of my stories. This story was of my then-boyfriend: how I was unhappy in the relationship, we weren’t right for each other, etc.

While I was talking, I stopped in the middle of the trail as I was struck with the awareness that I told this exact same story to the exact same person on the exact same trail. Only this was one year ago. Nothing had changed. I realized that I had been complaining about this same person and our relationship for one whole year while not doing anything at all to change it.

This first memorable realization helped to develop my motto:
if you don’t like your story, change it.

These stories are the ones you tell yourself or others over and over – and they usually come with negative associations. Such as: I don’t like ____________, I’ve never been able to ________________, I’m so tired of _________________, this is just the way things are, I’ll never be able to ______________.

These stories, especially when you’re not aware of them, may begin to define you. These stories are not you. They are characteristics that you clothe yourself with for protection, out of habit, or simply lack of awareness.

If You Don’t Like Your Story, Change It: Part 1, Cloud Gate Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Broomfield, ColoradoI think of a general life story as a large river. Streams merge with the river: these are the thoughts, actions and experiences in your life that feed you.

Streams and tributaries can also diverge from the main river. These can be the negative stories that you tell about yourself or about your situation in life.

The more you tell these stories, the bigger the stream can become - and the more you are draining water from your true self.

You can drain yourself so much that you don’t actually know who you are anymore.

So much energy is consumed in these stories about ourselves that we begin to lose who we truly are. Get that energy back. Start diverting the water back into your true life story.

I have developed three steps that helped me in the past to cut off the streams that are draining me while creating more streams that feed and sustain my life. I call this the ‘Triple A Method’ (maybe because it can bail you out of a not-so-awesome life situation ☺).

1. Awareness

Awareness is the first step to changing your story.

It all begins here. If you are not aware you’re telling the same story over and over or if you are simply sleeping your way through life, you have to wake up and realize that there is a story that you would like to change.

Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you might wake up one day and wonder where a significant part of your life went (like that one year without changing my relationship – what exactly was I doing with that story, other than complaining about it?).

Cloud Gate offers Acupuncture in Broomfield, ColoradoSo how does one gain awareness? Meditation is one way. If some are uncomfortable with meditation, I can also suggest going off autopilot for longer and longer increments of time each day.

Build awareness of your words and thoughts.

When you talk to your friends and family, pay attention to what you are saying – because the stories that you tell may be so ingrained that you don’t really need to even think about them before you say them.

Start actively thinking and observing again. You are your own case study. Ask your friends and family for feedback on stories that you tell about yourself or your situation. Next comes the hard part – don’t judge yourself or get defensive. This feedback can help you develop awareness.

You can also journal using the stream of consciousness technique where you write down everything that flows through your head for 15 minutes each day. If you start seeing the same story being written down over and over, this is a good indication that you have a story that needs to be addressed.

Go off autopilot and start paying attention. It’s your life. The stories are yours and you have the ability to change them. It all begins with awareness. Why not start today?

Click here to read parts 2 and 3: Appreciation and Action.