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The Weekly Fill: The Only Way To Change
4-minute read | I had a massive ah-ha in therapy that changed everything. Food matters in health, but it won't change anything without also changing this!
I had a massive ah-ha in therapy a few years ago.
I knew I had a mixed-up story. That's why I was going to therapy. I wanted to change the story that had forced me to live in a way I hated. The story was preventing me from healing.
I was sprawled out on my therapist's floral couch, completely frustrated that I wasn't getting it. Things weren’t changing.
In true human fashion, I kept returning to the same story. The one I hated but couldn't find a way out, at least not the way out I had hoped for. I wanted the ‘out’ that let me forget everything about my past and start fresh.
I don't know how my therapist kept her cool with me as I continuously repeated the same story but with at least thirty-two variations.
The details may have changed, but the theme was always the same.
She pulled up her rolling whiteboard, uncaped an overly dry Expo marker, and drew a faint infinity loop that she circles at least nine times—accentuating the shape.
"This is your life," she said.
She took the same worn-out marker and wrote DEPRESSION inside the loop in all caps.
"Inside it is depression, and everything you do, every decision you make, every relationship you have, and everything you think revolves around the depression."
My eyes widened, my jaw hit the floor, and my words abruptly left. I saw the loop I had been playing on repeat for the first time. I saw how it had impacted my life, driven my decisions, and changed my reactions. No matter how much I tried to escape it, it was the theme generating my story.
Trust me. It wasn't easy recognizing I had worked hard circling my life around the thing I hated most. It's hard to understand that you, too, may be living out of the places, stories, and pains that hurt the most.
The past you've desperately tried to outrun may still be running (and ruining) your life.
This part of our biology doesn't always make sense.
Logically it's hard to understand how your mind keeps your deepest pain as a theme throughout your life. But it does so to keep you alive.
What feels like hurt is a form of our greatest protection. It's a form of survival.
Creating a theme of pain may not be ideal, but it helps prevent you from re-experiencing the same pain.
It's why you store trauma in your body.
It's not to harm you but to protect you from engaging with what it knows will hurt you.
The irony is, living to prevent pain often causes a lifetime of suffering.
Leaving me to clarify survival and thriving are not the same.
Your body's job is to keep you alive, doing whatever it takes, even protecting you in ways you hate. But your design is to thrive.
Thriving requires you to understand the current theme of your life, no matter how painful it may have been or how much unintentional suffering it's led to, so you can create a new theme.
As I sat in therapy glaring at the theme of my life, I realized that at one time, I had to build my story on depression to survive. But like many things, what you once did out of survival, eventually turns dysfunctional.
My reality no longer contained the depression, allowing me to remove it from my story. Not to escape it or erase it but to create a new story through it.
What is the theme of your story?
We all have a loop, a pattern, a story that we circulate through. This theme changes your thoughts and biological reactions, generating the outcomes you experience.
If you aren't aware of it, you'll live your life protecting this theme, no matter how much you hate it, through a series of self-inflicted traps and medicators. Better known as the art of self-sabotage and self-abandonment.
But understanding the theme and respecting its purpose allows you to work with your body to find safety in a new story.
But first, you must understand your current theme. What word(s) have you placed inside your infinity loop?
Common words could be but are not limited to:
There is an abundance of traumas, pains, wounds, fears, and emotions that could be the theme of your life. And if they're not healthy or secure, even if they are or were part of your life, they no longer deserve the power to drive your life.
The theme of your life is directing your energy. We'll get here throughout the summer series on How You Heal.
But for now, take some time to respect your story and uncover a potential theme.
If your life is not where you want it to be, you have a theme problem.
New Podcast: HOW YOU HEAL
If you want to learn more and dive deeper, listen to the first podcast in the brand-new series How You Heal. Inside I share:
Details of my healing journey
How your story influences your body
The power of the U-Diagram
You can also learn more about how and why you use medicators (like food) and traps (like self-sabotages) in this post.
Stop giving your past the power to control your future by releasing it and creating a new identity, shifting the story.
If your mind leaves you wanting to focus on diet alone, let me remind you:
Your body is responsible for how you look based on what it does with what you provide. What it does is based on the story or theme it has created. You can't change your body, but you can support it by changing the story. This changes what your body does, changing the outcome you experience.
When you know better, you can change.
Next week, I'll be diving into more practical tools of self-regulation so we can continue diving deeper into your story.
For now, take some time to analyze the theme of your life and leave a comment with your current theme.
The work is worth it!
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