GNH Community

Community, Nonprofits and Businesses sharing Information

How to Release the Past: The Benefits of Letting Go of Negative Narratives

Photo Credit: Patrick Tomasso

When I went through the process to stop gossiping, I realized a lot of things about myself. The realization that I gossiped was pretty astonishing, but there was so much more! Among other things, I realized…

  • I was a much more negative person than I ever realized. I’m a life-long optimist, yet I did an enormous amount of complaining.
  • I had a victim mentality. I believed that the world was acting ON me, rather than that I was acting on the world. This is despite always feeling like a powerful woman who has agency.
  • I focused more on problems than solutions, despite having a “can do” attitude my whole life.
  • I did a lot of things to make matters worse, like continually talking about negative things and therefore reliving them over and over.

That last point is what I want to share about in this essay. It’s what I call, “dragging the story with you.” I made up this phrase for myself because it helped me to see that, when I tell a negative story over and over again, it’s like a weight that I’m dragging around. The longer and farther I drag it, the more difficulty it creates in my life. 

Meanwhile, the thing I’m telling the story about happened just once. I cause myself to relive it again and again in the retelling of it, but it happened only once. 

I learned to stop “dragging the story with me” when I stopped gossiping because gossiping is just a variation of doing that. I used to talk negatively about my boss behind her back for many years. When I stopped doing that, I was absolutely astonished at how dramatically my resentment against her went down. It was a miracle!

That showed me that, though she had some problem behaviors, I magnified those problems 10-fold by repeatedly talking about them. Once I saw that, I began to think of it as “I'm the problem.” I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way, I mean that in an empowering way. Let me explain:

If I’m the problem, then I get to be the solution. If other people are the problem, I’m screwed because I can’t do anything about them.

It’s not that my boss never did anything wrong. She was terribly unreliable in many ways. But my talking about it over and over again magnified the impact of that. For one, I relived the difficulty repeatedly, as did everyone who would listen to me. I even got others to join in with me. For another, my focus on problems meant I wasn’t seeking solutions, which meant the problems persisted.

But once I realized *I* was the problem, I set about seeking solutions. One of the main solutions was to stop dragging the story with me. Stop talking about the problem. When I continually talk about the problem, I’m acting like a victim who has no choices. 

As they say - where your attention goes, your energy follows. So when I stopped focusing on problems, my attention stopped going there and started focusing on solutions. One of which was to stop dragging the story with me. It was impossible for me to miss the enormous impact of that when it came to gossiping about my boss. It then became pretty easy to see how I’d been dragging all kinds of stories with me, and that if I stopped my life would improve. And of course, it did!

Here's an example of something I used to do. Let’s say someone pulled out in front of me on the highway that morning and almost caused me to crash. In the past, I’d probably retell that story a few times that day, and maybe even the next. It was bad enough that I had that terrible experience once. But telling the story over and over again made me relive the terror. That is not necessary.

If you find yourself doing things like that, or maybe saying things like, “Can you believe what she did?” I encourage you to ask yourself what your motivation is in sharing those things. Are you reliving the story just to relive the story (and perhaps continue to feel like a victim)? Or are you trying to process the event, make sense of it, and get some kind of resolution?

If it’s the former, please know you have the choice to stop that. And you have the power to decrease the drama in your life. If it’s the latter, that’s healthy. Keep doing that. Make sure you have emotionally healthy people to do that kind of processing with. 

When you keep dragging stories with you like I did, you’re acting like solutions don’t exist. Which means you will never SEEK solutions.

If the same kind of situation were to happen with a boss now that I’m several years into recovery, I’d go directly to my boss and say, “This isn't really working for me. Let’s find a way  to compromise that works for both of us.” If we were unable to do that, I wouldn’t stick around for 17 years like I did with her. I somehow didn't see leaving as an option back then, I didn’t see myself as having a choice. I acted as if the ONLY option I had was to stay and bitch.

When I stop sharing stories of difficulty over and over, I get to live in the present moment. The only way to have a well-lived life is to live in the present moment. That’s the only point in time when you can take action and make choices.

If you want to reduce the drama, chaos, dysfunction, and negativity in your life – stop dragging stories with you.

For more blog posts like this go to:

Feeling burnt out? Take a Self-Love Sprint!

This jam-packed program offers personalized coaching sessions and a self-care toolkit to help you recharge, rediscover your spark, and create lasting self-love habits. Sign up today and let's invest in your well-being!

Sign up now!

Views: 11


You need to be a member of GNH Community to add comments!

Join GNH Community

Welcome (Bienvenido, Benvenuto, Powitanie, Bonjour! Willkomme,歡迎, ברוךהבא أهلا وسهلا, Bonvenon) to GNH Community. Traducción de esta página

Si no habla inglés, puede
leer el contenido de este sitio
web haciendo clic en
"Select language" arriba y
eligiendo "Spanish".
El contenido, excepto los
archivos adjuntos, aparecerán en español.


Non-English speaking residents can read the content of this website by clicking on "Select Language" above and picking their preferred language. Once a language is selected all content with the exception of attachments will appear in that language.


Imagine. Inform. Invest. Inspire. Working together to build a stronger community - now and forever.

The Community Foundation office at 70 Audubon Street is open to visitors by appointment only; Foundation staff are available by phone and email Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. to conduct business or to schedule a time to visit. To contact a staff member, view our staff directory.




Open Street Project

An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit

By Ryan O’Connor, Director of Programs, 8 80 Cities Recently 8 80 Cities wrote a blog post about open streets being a labour of love. That being the case, the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was rejuvenating to see old and new friends who share our passion for open streets and are working tirelessly to create healthier, happier, and more connected communities across the world. The event, which took place on September 15-16, brought together more than 50 leaders who currently organize open streets programs or are interested in bringing the...

The post An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda

We hope you are getting ready and feel excited about the Open Streets Summit in Gretna/New Orleans! Taking place from September 15-16, 2018, the Summit will feature tours, presentations and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting or scaling up open streets programs, including: Route design and planning Partnerships with business and officials Social inclusion Safety and logistics Marketing and promotion Program evaluation through measurable goals and metrics If you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the Open Streets Summit only or...

The post Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced!

The Open Streets Project is proud to announce that Ed Solis from Viva Calle (San Jose, CA), Romel Pascual from CicLAvia (Los Angeles, CA), Jaymie Santiago and Charles Brown from New Brunswick Ciclovia will join us as speakers for the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna! Taking place from September 15-16 2018, the Summit will feature: Behind the scenes tour of the City of Gretna’s inaugural open streets program. Workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Training and inspiration for both -novice and experienced- open streets organizers and supporters...

The post Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced! appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Nigel Roberts Takes the Helm at LISC Memphis

LISC has named a community development leader with deep experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to expand its work in Memphis. P. Nigel Roberts will lead investment and program strategies that build equity and opportunity in underserved Memphis communities.

Ruth Jones Nichols, Formerly of HUD, Joins LISC as Executive Vice President to Lead Nationwide Program Activity

Dr. Jones Nichols will oversee LISC’s 37 metro-area program offices, Rural LISC and all its national programs. In addition to her federal leadership experience, she brings to LISC decades of experience working at the local level on critical issues related to housing, jobs, racial and gender equity, education and food access.

Frontline Communities Can’t Wait: A Blueprint for Building Sustainable Neighborhoods Now

In an op-ed for “Smart Cities Dive”, LISC CEO Michael T. Pugh, and Enterprise Community Partners CEO Shaun Donovan, weigh in on how climate and community develop are fundamentally part of the same whole—the premise of a new book, “What’s Possible: Investing NOW for Prosperous, Sustainable Neighborhoods”, just co-published by their two organizations with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And for investments in green community development to be successful, they argue, the work must be guided by strategies that prioritize community input and involvement.

© 2024   Created by Lee Cruz.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service