An Error sign with the words Letting go of someone else's story.
Someone Else’s Story

Fear reared its ugly head in me again today. Fear that said, “You did it wrong. You are so foolish!” It almost overwhelmed me until I realized that this story wasn’t about me at all (at least not entirely about me, though I did play my part). This was someone else’s story.

Here is how it happened. I’ve already confessed to being a well-accomplished procrastinator. Well, I am taking some correspondence courses which each include a written paper as an assignment. I finished all of the other work in each course, but I procrastinated writing those papers. (I hate to write stuff other people tell me to write. The folly of that will have to be explored in another post.) So here I was with 3 courses all but finished. In the spirit of my new-found resolve to stop procrastinating and move forward, I sat down and made myself write them all today—they were short papers. Then, feeling quite proud of myself, I submitted all three courses.

In reply, I received a gentle rebuke stating that I was meant to submit one course at a time as I finished it.Clay figure with hanging head and a sign with the word sorry. (Little did the author of that rebuke know that I had just finished all three courses.) That admonishment took the wind right out of my sails. The berating of myself began. It threatened to spiral down into misery, but I remembered to use a technique I’ve learned called EFT (see below) to defuse the negative emotions I was feeling. It was then that I could see the rebuke for what it was. My multiple submissions had overwhelmed the one who had to review them and had, no doubt, caused undue stress. It was not a message saying, “You’re so stupid!” It was a plea for relief.

In my zeal I had not stopped to consider how my submissions may affect the receiver of my work. Though my actions were the cause of the stress, the real story was about the one feeling the stress, not about me. My mistake was inadvertent and easily remedied by listening to the plea of the one afflicted. By changing my behavior in the future the problem is resolved. No need for fear. No need for blame. Every day our actions impact the lives of others. It is inevitable. But it is not cause for us to live in fear of making mistakes. We learn; we grow; we move on. Most of all, we must learn to correct our mistakes, give what help we can, and then let go of someone else’s story.


If you would like to learn more about EFT (The Emotional Freedom Technique), follow this link to an excellent free tutorial: Learn EFT

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