Do you know someone who is unable to move on from an event in their life, continually bringing it up and reliving it through storytelling? Personal story addiction weighs people down to past feelings and emotions and suspends them in time. Past events such as abuse, neglect, trauma, loss, or illness can keep people locked into one moment in life, robbing them of a happy and productive future.
“Our past must never define us,” Says author Zahrah Sita. “The goal is to move into the future we are creating now” (2017, paragraph 7).
How can the addiction to personal storytelling be broken? It begins by looking within, to identify how the person in question define themself. Sita calls this the “I am” statements. Those struggling with a personal storytelling addiction are encouraged to repeat affirmations like “I am kind,” “I am a good person,” and “I am happy” to reinforce positive external behavior and help reduce the urge to retell unhealthy stories.
Mindfulness and stillness throughout life can be achieved through talking to oneself. When a personal storytelling addict becomes still, they can become aware of their thoughts, feelings, motives, intentions, insecurities, fears, and anything else that keeps them retelling stories that trap them in their past. When they get to know themselves intimately by practicing stillness and mindfulness, they begin to focus more on the present than negative events that occured previously.
As mindfulness and stillness is practiced, it is crucial that those attempting to overcome a personal storytelling addiction begin to take responsibility for themselves. They should recognize that they are not responsible for past abuse, but are responsible for the choices they make now. This is the most difficult part of overcoming the addiction. It is difficult to give up blaming an abuser. Retelling a story keeps the victim from having to be responsible for their lives as they are now. This keeps them attached to the person who hurt them and insulates them from success. Only when they let go of their connection to the abusive person or bad experience can they begin to move forward into self-connection and self-love.
Once a victim begins to move forward through emotional healing, forgiveness, and self-responsibility, the future opens up to them. They can create anything they want; they can be anything they choose to be; they can explore new ways of experiencing life (Sita, 2017, paragraph 13). They can also tell a story not of addiction to the past, but of empowerment for the future.
Life is not lived in a straight line. There are curves and forks in the road. Experiences and stories are constantly changing. They must change in order for growth beyond the past to occur. The ability to succeed depends upon breaking the addiction to unhealthy stories. Everyone has the power to create the future they choose to envision (Sita, 2017, paragraphs 9 & 11).
For more information on this topic, please read “Are You Addicted to Your Story?”
Sita, Z. (2017, June 9). Are You Addicted to Your Story? The Costa Rica News. Retrieved from http://thecostaricanews.com/are-you-addicted-to-your-story/