Most of us have a life story that defines us. Is yours one of tragedy, or one of hope?
My day job is working with numbers. One of my roles is as a certified divorce financial analyst, so I hear a lot of clients’ personal stories. Often, at least one of the partners in the marriage feels ripped off, betrayed, or hurt. That’s the story that currently defines them: as the spouse of someone who really screwed them over in some way.
Certainly, I am compassionate about such an intense and personal life transition, but my belief is that after living with bitterness for years post-trauma, people are best served by letting go of the anger. Otherwise, this negative attitude becomes the “elephant in the room” of your mind. Taking it a step further, I call it a “pink elephant,” after the saying that drunk people hallucinate about colored pachyderms.
Those negative stories you tell yourself usually trigger negative emotions, which cause the body to produce chemicals toxic for your immune system. There’s an actual physical impact to your body when you spend too much time wallowing in negativity. Neuroscience teaches us that thoughts form pathways in our brains, and the more a similar thought is recalled, the more ingrained the pathway.
How do you change that negative “thinking loop”? Envision your life story in a positive way: How do you see your best life? Instead of dwelling on what’s not working, keep imaginging the dreams you want to make a reality.
I call this reframed narrative a red rabbit. Rabbits are symbolic of abundance and comfort, and the color red is associated with power. Let’s activate your personal power to attract abundance to your life.
The strategy is to be conscious and aware of your thinking. The ultimate goal is to be the constant observer of your thinking. When you become conscious of the old story starting to take over your mental space, you shift to being the creator of your thinking instead of the reactor. I actually tell my pink elephant, “Thank you for sharing,” and then choose to think about my red rabbit.
Try this out for yourself. I think you will like it. One technique is to write out your pink elephant on a piece of paper. Then on a separate paper write out a red rabbit, ignoring the evidence of the senses and use your imagination to project a life experience you would like to have. (Safely) burn the paper with the pink elephant story on it, and feel a sense of lightness as you see that mental burden literally disappear in smoke. Now you’re free to chase after your red rabbit – and bring happiness to your life.