Whether you are scarred by love, jaded by religion or beaten by circumstance, there comes a time to say “Enough!” and move on. You aren’t serving yourself or changing anyone else by holding on to anger. Rights and wrongs are beside the point now. It’s time to let go, let the past be what it was and move on. You can’t change what happened, but you CAN change what you are making it mean. You can change the story you tell yourself.
One of my favorite children’s stories is Grandpa’s Slippers. Grandma thinks it’s time to throw out Grandpa’s tattered old slippers, but every time she throws then out, he finds them because he loves his old slippers. Grandma is right of course. The time has come for a new pair of slippers. But on the other hand, Grandpa has to make his own choices about when to move on.
It’s a bit the same with this article. Forgive me ferreting through the closet of your personal story. If, for whatever reason, you’re not inclined to move on then by all means stop reading. But, on the other hand, if you are ready to claim your most powerful and exciting future then please DO read on. Consider me the meddling grandma.
Your old story is like Grandpa’s slippers. It doesn’t fit you anymore, doesn’t fit the person you want to become. Like the old slippers, your story is coming apart at the seams because it’s not YOU. Its several sizes too small for the life you deserve and know you want. The slippers represent a version of your life that has become comfortable, maybe even comfortably numb. But it’s not the truth.
Beware of ancient drama slopping around in truth’s slippers. They may be keeping the soles of your feet warm with the familiar glow of self righteousness, but they aren’t feeding the soul of who you are. Your old story is at best a half truth and you may even have the wrong half, the half that is holding you back. It’s time to exchange the half truth of “poor me” for a new truth called “my potential.”
As the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron says, “The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.”
Who would you be without your old slippers? As long as you choose to walk with the gait of a victim, everything that happens to you will feed this story. You will search in closets, under beds and in the trash for any excuse to reignite the drama. Your walls go up, your heart closes and you recreate the sagas of your past hurts like painted bodies in a crime scene. Life will continue to happen TO you as long as you tell this tired old story.
Close the book on the victim story and remember that you are a fearless pioneer on a daring adventure to find love and beauty in and around you. Everything is an opportunity, well before you ascribe it with any meaning. Allow life to happen THROUGH you, and WITH you, rather than to you. It’s time to claim your power, and leave yesterday’s disappointment in a vault marked “things I’ve grown through but they don’t define me ANY more.”
If you’re not ready to read this, then forgive me. Take it in the spirit it is intended. I offer this with compassion and in the interests of every person realizing your full potential as a human being.
We don’t do a service to anyone when we allow each other to wallow in self pity. Nor do we do each other a service when we perpetuate wounded truths. Wounded truths are the half truths that speak of past disappointment but don’t catch the other half of the truth that you have power to make choices about how you respond. Wounded truths are often spoken with tilted head and muffled tone. We ask for peoples least rather than inviting their greatest.
Take a little power walk in your new slippers and see how they feel. Use language that speaks of power and potential rather than paralysis and pity. If we were inviting fullness from each other, we would talk about survivors of crime rather than victims of crime. We would emphasize recovery rather than addiction. We would describe people as managing chronic illness rather than “having” diseases. The disease doesn’t define the person, nor does the crime.
This is not about denial. We do well to avoid the other extreme of blame as well. Allow people to feel their pain and not deny the past. But at some time, and somewhere in between victim mentality and blame lies a healthy form of present focused personal responsibility.
The happy ending in Grandpa’s Slippers is that Grandpa eventually lets go of his old slippers, buys a new pair and voila, it turns out that he loves the new slippers even more.
I shouldn’t make any promises, but I can’t help feeling that the same is true for all of us. The new story may take some getting used to, but once you do let go and move on, your life will flourish in leaps and bounds; from responsibility to power, and from choice to freedom. You might even thank Grandma for breaking the victim’s cycle and prompting you to make new choices.
Oh, and this process of claiming your power has no end point. It’s a lifelong journey of growth. No sooner has Grandpa slipped his feet into his new, comfy loafers, than Grandma turns her attention to his tatty old cardigan. Claim power in one area of your life, create a habit of forward focused momentum, and then turn your attention to the next. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Its fun making life-affirming choices, and exciting.
As Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist,
As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.