Understanding the Stories You Tell Yourself | RU002

This episode is about stories. What are the stories you tell yourself about who you are, your history, and your self-esteem? How can you honor your stories and the emotions that come with them? How can you learn from your stories? What is the most important story to tell yourself? And what really happened to Cinderella and Snow White…later! 


Questions for reflection:

No matter who initiated the divorce, how are you finding, or how have you found, the courage to stand in a new place in your life?

What are you the most afraid of when you look to the future?

What are you the most hopeful about when you look to the future? 

Access your Treasure Chest Gift at: https://rediscoveringu.com/access-treasure-chest/

About the Host:

Divorced after many years of marriage, Barb Greenberg founded Rediscovering U, a company that provides education, support, and resources for women transitioning through a divorce and into a new life. She and her company have been recognized for “…creating equality, justice, and self-determination for women…” She is an award-winning author of 3 books, Hope Grew Round Me, After the Ball: A Woman’s Tale of Happily Ever After, and The Seasons of Divorce: Insights for Women in Transition. Her books are available at a special price for you at https://rediscoveringu.com/divorce-sponsors/books/

Visit https://rediscoveringu.com to learn more!

You can also find Barb at:





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Barb Greenberg:

Hello, and welcome to Rediscovering U where you will find valuable insights, support and education to help you move through the difficult and often painful process of divorce with grace and courage and hope and find the ultimate gift of rediscovering yourself. I'm your host, Barb Greenberg, award winning author and founder of rediscovering you. If I'd had access to a resource like this during my divorce, I would have not felt so isolated, I would have made much better decisions, I still would have breathed for that for so hard for so long. And I wouldn't have eaten so many boxes of macaroni and cheese. When women heal. Families heal, when families heal communities heal. When communities heal, the possibilities are endless. Let's get started.

Barb Greenberg:

Would you like to change your divorce story? Just a bit, maybe? Or maybe even more? Are you feeling that overwhelm were getting out of bed in the morning is a major accomplishment? Or if you're not overwhelmed? Do you feel like you're just reading this really bad book and you just can't seem to put it down? I can relate to both of those and everything in between my story when I started, I did something I never thought I would do. I went to my girlfriend and I just wind I just wind see what he did to me. Can you believe what he did to me? Oh, my god is this terrible. And I get a lot of sympathy. And I did it for quite a while. And then it got really boring. And one night, in the middle of the night, of course woke me up and it went not acceptable buck-o. I was wide awake all the sudden I don't like where to buckle come from, I have no idea. But I realized I needed to change. Instead of thinking and speaking about what he was doing or had done to me. It was my turn to decide what I was going to do for myself. Which doesn't mean I had any idea what my story would be. But I knew I needed to start,

Barb Greenberg:

I also knew that I needed to still always honor that first story that was filled with pain and the grief and the rage and the sadness and the sorrow and the confusion. Because those emotions can teach us a lot. It takes a lot of courage, as you know, to deal with those emotions. But I think honoring and respecting them is something very important. And I also realized that I was in a culture that said, don't take your time to do that. You've got to move really fast, you've got to heal right away, things have to be better right away, and you need to be happy and positive that the data, oh, I can't do that. I can't do that. I don't want to Photoshop. My experience. I don't want to gloss over what has changed my life. So I took my time. I really did my best to deal with emotions as they came up. And you know, that's a lifelong process, but really got going during this time of my life. And it was really interesting what happened when I would honor the emotions and listen to them. The story was still the same, but the emotional charge of it was gone. If that makes any sense. Let me give you two examples. One was, oh, there was one night I couldn't sleep. I was so afraid. I was I mean I'm really good with your IQ. I'm I could do that really well. But I was very I was afraid of, oh, you name it. I was afraid I couldn't support myself. I was afraid of what was going to happen to me. I was afraid of my finance about my finances. I was afraid of how this was affecting my children. I was afraid that I was eating too much not eating enough. I was afraid my mother was going to come over and my bathroom wouldn't be dirty. I mean, I was afraid. I was also afraid that I wouldn't survive that I would never stop crying that I wouldn't ever be able to move forward.

Barb Greenberg:

So that one night when I couldn't sleep, I turned on the light, grabbed a fresh legal pad and a pen. And I started writing and I didn't write affirmations I didn't write I'm fearless. Instead I wrote the truth about how I felt. And I wrote I'm scared I'm scared I'm scared and then I threw in swear words every once in a while I'm so blankety blank scared. I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared like the blank blank. And I wrote so hard On some pieces of paper that I tore through them, sometimes I scribbled so wildly, that there were three or four words just on a page that I used up that entire legal pad, writing just over and over again, how afraid I was. At the end of the legal pad, when there was no more paper, I put down the pad, put the pen down on top of it, turned off the light and slept like a baby. Wow. My fear just wanted to be acknowledged it wanted me to listen. And now I do my best to have a conversation with it. When it pops up. I all talk to myself sort of like I'm scared, right? Oh, yeah. Are you Are you okay? No, not really. What can I do? Can I get a hug? Yes. Do you still love me? Yes. What do you want to do? Do you want to sit on the sofa? No. Do you want to have some chocolate? Sure. I mean, it was just, it just became a conversation. And then it would know that emotion would know that I was paying attention and it would release. So that was a really powerful thing. I I did it again. I tried to do it. When I remember to do it. It things go faster. For me. I woke up one morning. This is the second example. Super crappy. No reason. And that's what's nice about this exercise. You don't have to have a reason. I'm just crabby. Just cuz, crabby. So I took my journal I used to journal every morning. I don't do it so much anymore. I miss it, but I'll get back to it. So I picked up my journal and I wrote I'm crabby and crabby and crabby. I'm crabby, crabby, crabby, and, of course, with a few swear words thrown in, and after a page and a half, when you feel better yet. And the answer was, yeah, no, I don't. So I wrote for another page and a half. I'm crabby, crabby, crabby. And after another page and a half, I stopped and I asked myself once more, you feeling better yet? Ah, well, yes, I am. And I changed the story of my day, I had a fabulous day, the Crabby was way gone.

Barb Greenberg:

Then, speaking about stories, this is a totally different story. But I was in New Mexico visiting a national park, where there were petroglyphs that were carvings of stories into these volcanic rocks, that were 400 to 700 years old. These these carvings of stories, it was a really powerful experience to see this, to walk through these rocks with these symbols and stories on them. And of course, afterwards, I thought, I wonder what stories I've carved into my life that are still bear that maybe don't need to be there anymore. You know, which stories are mine? Which, which did I pick up from somebody, which did I take from somebody else that I assumed were mine, stories about self esteem and my place in this world, and who who am I and what I can be and all those kinds of stories. And I realized I had a library full of stories. And you might have a library full too. And see if any of my stories are the same stories as yours are, you might have totally different ones that I do. But there might be some crossover.

Barb Greenberg:

So the ones that stood out for me were or are there's a trilogy, the trilogy is I have no value, my voice doesn't matter. And I can never follow my dreams. Isn't that that's a terrible story. But that was my story. It was a story I believed. Then I have the poor me stories. I love those stories. If I want a good cry, if I want to feel a little self righteous, those are my poor me stories. And then there are the stories of lack, that there's not enough of whatever. And the most impactful one is that there's not not not enough love to go around. That can really be devastating going through divorce for yourself personally, and for your parenting if you're dealing with children, and if there's not enough love, oh my gosh, what do you do? So very, very difficult stories. Yeah, and one day, I was out to lunch with a friend. And I was telling her about what was going on in my life and she said, huh, those are very interesting stories. Have you ever considered writing a book? I think your stories could help a lot of women. I said I've never in a million years thought of writing a book. And she said, Well, you know, I really do think I could help a lot of people. So I went, Okay, I'll do that. I had no idea what I was getting into. But a few really interesting things happened when I started to write.

Barb Greenberg:

First of all, I found that I love doing it, who knew I was in my 50s. And I found something I loved to do. It was wonderful. And it flashed me back to a time when I had taken this workshop. And the speaker said something about, you know, we all have little girl dreams, what were your little girl, little girl dreams growing up. And I got tears in my eyes, because I couldn't remember. And it just was very painful. And I eventually realized that, you know, some of us know exactly what we want, when we're little girls, some of us have no idea what we want, are you a you may you may fall into one of these categories, you may know exactly what you want. And always knowing exactly what you want. You may have never had any idea what you wanted. That was me. You may have wanted things but didn't think you could have them, or didn't believe you could have them. You may have you may been afraid to ask for what you want, or dream about what you want, because somebody was going to tell you, you couldn't have that dream. So we all have, we all have pieces of that. And I do believe that our dreams find us, our dreams will find us. When the time is right. We just have to be opened to know that. So anyway, in my 50s, I found a dream that I never expected. I also realized that when you write and you make these connections, as you start writing, and if those of you who if you journal, you know that too. And if you don't journal, it's kind of a fun thing to do. But that might not be your thing, which is fine.

Barb Greenberg:

But I would as I'm writing my story, I would go Oh, well that means that that. And then that means that that and no wonder that. Oh, my I also realized that. Like I've said before, when we share our stories, it it helps everybody, we all know that we're not alone, that we're not perfect, that we're not supposed to be perfect, that life isn't supposed to be perfect. And even more important, I think, I realized that when our heart is broken, it's a chance for us to go down into ourselves. Most of you do that, or are doing it or will be doing it. But that's where you can find a lot of your stories about the real you the true stories about who you are, that you may be hid down there to keep them safe. So I loved that piece. I loved stories. And what happened was from that one lunch, I ended up writing three books. Something again, I never thought I would do. And I'm going to share just a little bit about them. Because hopefully that that will there'll be some goodies in there for you. The first book is called Hope grew round me. It was from a poem because I couldn't think of a title. But it's about how my daughter's life threatening car accident, planted the seeds for my own self discovery. And there's a phrase in there about this terrible episode in my life that thrust me on to a struggle into a struggle that would lead me back to myself. And I think divorce does that for us to it will lead you back to yourself. As difficult as that situation is, you will find your way back to yourself.

Barb Greenberg:

The second book is called after the ball, a woman's tale of reclaiming happily ever after. And that's because I wanted to figure out what really happened to Cinderella and Snow White later when the prince turned out not to be so charming. And it turns out that they became friends. They share their stories. Cinderella says you know, I ended up back by the fireplace sitting in the Cinder is just so sad and alone. Snowflake goes oh my gosh, I get it. I had inherited Mirror mirror on the wall from my wicked stepmother. And it told me I wasn't happy. And I didn't want to believe it. So I shut it away in the closet. How could I not be happy I was married to a prince. We lived in a great palace and everybody told me how lucky I was. Can you relate to that one? And then she also said to Cinderella, she said, You know, I remember taking that bite of apple and fallen on the ground in the forest and why didn't I just get up? Why was I waiting for somebody else to wake me up, I could have just gotten up. So the girls go to find the wise woman in the woods. And searching for wisdom is not always an easy path. You know, there's dead ends, there's confusion, there's darkness, there's light, there's all sorts of things they find the wise woman they go, take time to grieve and to heal, and then they reinvent themselves and Snow White ends up opening a bakery that specializes in apple tarts, Apple, fritters, apple turnovers, Apple, everything. And Cinderella, of course, designs shoes, she becomes a shoe designer, of course. And at the end, they wonder if there will be another love in their life and they decided that person comes along, they will not have to rescue them. Because these girls have already rescued themselves, which is the job of each of us anyway. Because you can't, it's an inside job. It's It's you. It's wonderful. When you have somebody who supports you and encourages you and believes in you, eventually, it's you to go inside yourself and find what your own Happily Ever After is.

Barb Greenberg:

And then the third book came about because I was writing short little articles or blogs for our weekly newsletter, or rediscovering you newsletter and website. And I'd been told for years to put the articles into a book. And I dug my heels in I didn't want to do it for a really long time. But I finally did it. I loved it. And it ended up this is interesting ended up winning a Midwest Book Award for an inspirational book of the year. And I didn't even want to share that with you. I wasn't going to share that with you. And a friend of mine said, Oh, well, that's not bragging. I thought it was bragging, feels like it. She said, maybe that's just another way you're silencing yourself. And I thought, huh, another story etched into my life that I better, better figure out what's going on with it. But meanwhile, it's a story. It has short articles. And it's organized by seasons. So fall, you can relate. Everything falls away from you. Winter, you can relate, it's dark, it's cooled. There's life still underneath the ground, but you can't see it. Spring you begin to blossom again and summer. There it is wonderful, right? And at the end of each article, there are three little ask yourself questions. So I'm going to share the first three questions from the first episode with you. They are no matter who initiated the divorce? How are you finding? Or how have you found the courage to stand in a new place in your life? What are you most afraid of when you look to the future? What are you the most hopeful about when you look to the future? And I'll put these up these questions in the Episode Notes if you would like to use them as a journaling or for reflection may may guide you. And I know that you will compassionately. Embrace the stories of your past and bravely create new stories and new chapters for your future that are filled with strength and courage and lead discovery.

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