Your Origin Story
I have always loved the origin stories of different superheroes. Batman’s grief over his parent’s death, Superman’s crash landing in Kansas, even Bilbo’s reluctance to join the band of dwarves all have powerful psychological and emotional roots and intense consequences. This is what it is like to do trauma work.
We all have our own origin stories. How did you become the person you are today? Where does your anxiety stem from? How have you survived for so long on this planet? How are you so resilient? What major events in your life have deeply impacted who you are today? Sometimes these events are obvious and sometimes they are subtle and hidden. Regardless, it is vital that you begin to think about your origin story and look at what contributed to you becoming you because if you are expected to change who you are you really need to change how you view and interpret where you came from.
What does that mean? We cannot go back in time and change life events, but we can change the meaning we have the place on them and the attachment we have to them. Imagine what would happen to Bruce Wayne if he did not have such a strong attachment to justice and avenging his parents’ death if he did not feel such a strong sense of guilt and responsibility for their death. Do you think he would still have become Batman? Probably not.
Sometimes negative and painful things happen to us in our lives and we need to accept that. Through those events, we develop certain messages especially about how we see the world and how we see ourselves. Sometimes these messages are understandable. Imagine a combat vet dropping to the floor after hearing a car backfire. The message his brain is sending him is, “Danger, I’m not safe. Get down!” This message is understandable if he has been living in a war zone for so long. Still, in order to get him to not hit the deck every time a car backfires he needs to rewrite that message. He needs to recognize that the message “Danger, I’m not safe,” is a result from a past experience and that in the present moment in the here and now he is perfectly safe because there is no danger from a car backfiring. So if rewriting our attachment and meaning of our origin story is key to healing and blooming into our best selves, how do we do that?
One, go to therapy. A trained therapist will help you not only identify your origin story but will help you notice how it affects you today (cognitively, emotionally, physically, even spiritually), define the messages you tell yourself, and how to alter those messages for a better future. Trauma therapists, in particular, are great at this especially if they are trained in EMDR or other somatic therapies (more on these later).
Second, practice mindfulness and being present. Some key components to mindfulness are acceptance and non-judgment of our current situation. We often spend so much time in future thought leading us to anxiety or past thought leading us to regret and shame. Staying in the present moment helps us focus on what is actually going on rather than having these false messages from the past or future dictating for us. Let go of any judgment and just notice what is going on in the here and now.
Third, love yourself. This is vital. In order to rewrite how you interpret your origin story, you have to replace it with something else. I have worked with so many clients who struggle with self-love but loving yourself completely and unconditionally can go lightyears for healing your psychological and emotional wounds
and beginning to thrive.
Here’s the challenge: Identify one life event that has had a drastic impact (positive or negative) on who you are today. What messages about yourself did you gain from that experience? Do you love yourself despite that experience? If not how can you begin to?
Disclaimer: This blog is designed for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes. It not meant to be a substitute for any mental health or medical treatment. If you need a doctor or therapist please find one near you. Please do not attempt to do anything without your doctor and therapist or other professionals go ahead and remember to use common sense. Pictures from Pixabay.com.