Sometimes we become so attached to the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that they obstruct our growth and happiness. In the 1960's, the comedy team known as the Smothers Brothers used to do a running joke about "Mom always liked you best". It was funny because we could see how it defined their relationship, and we could laugh at this silly attachment to a belief with a hint of recognition that we had similar patterns, but without having to identify our own ego based stories.
I overheard someone in a store telling her friend how she could never lose unwanted pounds because of her heredity. Her family members were overweight, their metabolism just didn't allow for weight loss, etc.... and so it was. "Whether you think you can or your can't.... you are right" said Henry Ford. He understood how stories work.
Stories can be about characteristics (like being overweight or clumsy) or about the way things happen to us (being a victim, being unloved)or about patterns that we expect to occur (doing better under pressure, being rejected). Why do we cling to our scripted stories when they bring us more of the same?
One reason has to do with how emotional memories are stored in the body. Another reason is that they give us a sense of identity and the ego loves certainty in all its forms. The unconscious mind does not hold the concept of time as we know it consciously, so in part of our intelligence, if it happened in the past, it is still happening now.
An example: Someone feels betrayed at in early age in a significant relationship. It is very painful and emotional energy is locked in the body without release. When that person becomes intimate in another relationship perhaps they see a behavior, or a mood, or a facial expression that triggers the cellular memory of the earlier betrayal and the seed thought of mistrust is planted in the new relationship. It is easy to see how carrying a story about being betrayed would lead to not trusting; and how not trusting would lead to feelings that would perpetuate the same experience. And then the story about how hard it is for us to trust people because of having been betrayed becomes our reality.
The why of it is of course less important than taking action to change it. Awareness is the first step; listening and recognizing that you are creating a specific reality by telling and retelling a particular story. Beliefs are simply thoughts that we tell ourselves are true, so if we have come to believe the story, it has become true for us. After recognition comes inhibition and then redirection of our thoughts. If we can interrupt the old story and let go of attachment to it, we can create a new story that does not follow the same script. I love the line in TAT work (Tappas Acupressure Technique)that says "It happened, it is over, I can relax now". It gives permission for the unconscious to let go and creates room to choose a new story that strengthens our ability to create what we want in our lives instead of repeating what we have always manifested.
When we catch ourselves in an old story, I think it is helpful to acknowledge it for having served us in some way in the past. At one time, it was useful, or we would not have created it. So thank it for that, and then tell it and yourself that you set it free, that it is no longer needed. To start a new story, think about what you want to happen, about what you want to create for yourself. Literally write a new story that illustrates the desired outcome and then take the necessary actions to make it real. When choosing action, ask if it moves your closer to your goal or further from it, and use that as a guide. Ask for help if you need it.
When I was very young, I heard my mother continually telling people that I was shy when I was not chatty with strangers. So "she's just shy" became one of my stories, and that way of being plagued me through school. Until senior year when I decided that I didn't like it, that it was painful and I didn't want to be that way, so I enrolled in a theatre class to push my limits and learn new scripts, literally and figuratively. Taking a class, saying affirmations, listening to inspirational CDs, support groups, hypnosis, TAT and EFT are all tools to create new scripting.
So think about what would make you happy, and set about the creation of a new way of being in the world. Change your stories, change your life.