Simple Steps To Lighten Up A Heavy Relationship

Are you carrying around some excess hidden weight?  And, I’m not referring to the 5 or 10 pounds that may have packed on throughout the winter months from all that comfort food (guilty!).  No, I’m talking about the invisible, energetic weight we carry around like stones in a backpack without even realizing it.

Those secret little nagging voices and thoughts that jump up at every turn to “weigh in” with their very pushy and convincing opinions.  The ones that affect our relationships and how we communicate.

So what are these stones comprised of?  In one word, your past (ok, that was two).  If you look closely, you’ll see that these stones are carved out with stories.  We have an entire library of stories we’ve written over time that we carry around with us.

We as human beings just love to cling onto those babies.  I mean, they DEFINE us right?  They tell us how we’ve been hurt, judged, let down, and betrayed.  They are ready at a moment’s notice to jump up and protect us from ever letting that happen to us again!

Of course here’s where the irony kicks in.  What we resist persists.  So the more we try to protect ourselves or resist it from happening again, the more it will happen again.

Do you feel like your relationship, or even certain aspects of your life, has a pattern to it and the same ole’ thing keeps happening over and over?

The thing about stories, every time we pull them out and read them, we get more and more familiar with them, until we have them completely memorized and can recall them automatically, and so quickly that we don’t even realize they are just a story anymore, now they actually seem like living, present reality!  They soon become a pattern that repeats very easily, until they do indeed create the type of phenomena seen in the movie Groundhog Day, living that story over and over again.

So where in your life do you see a story repeating itself over and over?  Usually they will show up in the relationships that are the most meaningful to you – your significant other, or your birth family.

And this is no coincidence, we set a higher standard of expectations from these relationships.  We take things very personally  –  after all, these are supposed to be the most supportive and loving relationships of our lives.

But there’s more to it than that.  It is usually within the birth family that these stories are formed in the first place.  And then your significant other becomes your chosen family, your partner.  And so, this relationship then will repeat the pattern for you if you are not careful, it may not look exactly the same, the roles might even be reversed, but it can show up.

Here’s some questions to help you identify and release the power of your stories:

What stories are you carrying around?  

How many times do you reflect on your story?  

Each time you consider what’s happened in the past, is that a healthy way to spend your precious energy?

And the biggie… drumroll please….Who would you be without that story?

The next time you have an interaction with your loved one, and you feel that familiar angst rising up (here we go again!), stop and ask yourself, Who would I be right now without this story?

Pretend you are a person without that story.  Try having the conversation as that pretend person and just see what happens.  In other words, approach your beloved as if it were the first conversation you’ve ever have had with him/her.  Don’t presuppose you know what they are going to say or do, just be in the moment and see what happens.

Because here’s the thing. (Ok, I’m gonna shoot straight here)

This IS the first conversation you are having with that person.  Literally.  We are all evolving and changing with each moment, even our cells and organs are regenerating in each moment.  And each experience, each day, changes us, even if just a little.  It’s TRUTH that energy is always moving and changing, life is always changing.

And this isn’t just some new-age mumbo jumbo.  It’s simple truth.

Grow or die. 

Growth is change. 

We are always changing.  If I’ve done my job, you will be a different person at the end of this article than you were at the beginning.  And even if I haven’t, you will still be different.

(As a side-note: Interestingly enough, it is our birth families that will usually have the most difficult time accepting this truth, as they base their identities on defining each other.  But another topic for another day.)

And your story?  The one weighing you down and holding your life and relationship hostage?  It IS just a story.  Hold on to your hat – It doesn’t even exist!  The only place it exists is within you.  period.  What happened yesterday is not real today.

It exists only.  in.  your.  mind.

So ask yourself, what are the things that have put stress on your relationship?  All of that history… it’s complicated, right?  That financial mess?  That argument that nearly tore you apart?  That business failure?

Not real.  Not today.  Not now.  

Sure, there’s the memory of it.  That seems so dang real.   And all the meaning and judgements you gave it seem real.  But they are all only in one place, your thoughts.   The truth is, the occurrence and all the players are no longer in existence.  Including the you that was there at the time.

Oh, I can almost hear you say, “But Marci, what about all of the fallout?”

What fallout?  That’s just part of your story.

Look at each moment, each conversation, each interaction as simply an event. Now, take a look at the “event” in front of you, just the event .  Drop all of the fears, judgements, opinions, history, and meanings you are giving the event.  Just deal with the event in this moment, in this time.

Is this process easy to do?  I wish I could say yes, but no, it takes a lot of practice and I have to remind myself to do it on a daily basis.  Unwinding years of an entrenched pattern can be tough, so go easy on yourself, it may take some time.  But your efforts will be so worth it in the end!

So I’ll leave you with a choice, it’s all yours to make.  Are you going to throw that story in your backpack to carry it along with you to the next moment, the next conversation?  Or, are you going to drop that rock and be the person without that story?

For me, I’m thinking lighter definitely feels better.

30 Responses

  1. Wow. That’s BIG! So on target. It’ll be good to practice this and see how things unfold. I am of course, forwarding it:-) thank you. Forever.

    1. Karon, thank you so much for your comment! Yes, it does indeed take practice – a daily reminder to keep this mindset can be really helpful. Please keep me posted and let me know if I can support you in any way. Sending much love!

  2. Jennifer L. says:

    Perfect timing for me on this. I love what you say about “just deal with the thing” So many times it turns into a dissection of what happened “before” instead of what is the real issue, right now.

    1. Hi Jennifer — so true! It’s as if our Ego is completely invested in supporting our past stories, instead of moving forward. Much Love!

  3. Sue Ann Gleason says:

    Thank you, Marci. There is so much freedom in putting those old stories to sleep. A much lighter, more luscious way to live, indeed.

    1. Indeed – and Freedom is such an amazing place to live from, thanks for your comment!

  4. Wonderful blog Marci. You’re a woman after my own heart. This is soooooo me…in fact, it appears in my book and most of my articles that I write. Overcoming past patterns is so liberating. And that’s the reason we’re here. I believe that our families ARE loving us when they provide opportunities for resistance because they’re also providing opportunities for growth. Thank you to my disfunctional family for all the growth opportunities you’ve provided me. And thank you Marci for making this sooooo clear and powerful. X.

    1. I like how you think, sista! Ah yes, our families can indeed provide opportunites for resistance and growth. And I’ve found a good sense of humor can certainly help with the process as well. I’ve put “fun” back into my life over the last few years and along with that comes the most valuable gift of not taking things so personally, or seriously. Here’s to being grateful for the opportunites! Much love!

  5. So good! I especially like the idea of taking pause when you feel that ‘here we go again’ feeling and respond as the person without the story.

    Thank you for that!

  6. Just actually this morning I looked back at an old journal entry I had written from a year ago, about a relationship that was truly weighing me down and very complicated. It was great to look back on the entry and see how i have grown over the past year and the peace i have made around it.

    1. Heather, that’s beautiful! Letting go and making peace around a complicated relationship isn’t an easy thing to do, but making that choice to grow from it and gaining peace must feel awesome. Thanks for sharing! Much love.

  7. I’m ditching the “Unlucky in Love” story. Today. Right now. Ahhhh…. My backpack is so much lighter now. Love that visual! :-)

    1. Hi Michelle, if only it were just that easy, right?! Ha! Thanks for reading! XO

  8. Elizabeth MacLeod says:

    oh yes… thank you Marci…. you are right indeed!!!!….ditching the old stories leads to such a full and rich life full of surprises that are simply not allowed when you’ve already scripted the lines! So much more beauty to behold from this lighter place …

  9. Good timing for me, Marci. Just this morning I was writing in my journal about a part of my story that’s been perpetuated for at least a couple of generations. What a lovely reminder to stay in the present moment. Right here. Right now. With nothing but wide open possibility before us.

    1. Hi Cathy, love this! It is truly fascinating how many of our patterns are learned from the generations before us. xo

  10. What a wise and lovely reminder to live in the present, or live in the “now” as Eckhart Tolle puts it. I absolutely agree with you. That story is not real, and the more we identify with it, the more it holds us back. I personally choose to leave that behind, whenever I possibly can!

  11. Re-writing those old stories that no longer serve us. Such liberation…lightness and freedom. Great post!

  12. Christine says:

    aahh! great way to frame it. I’ve never thought of conversations in this light. This is a great way to remember “in the moment” and move forward the next time I’m in the position to pick up an old “stone”.

  13. Denise Marie Filmore says:

    “The occurrence and real players are no longer in existence. Including the you…” Love this!! The show is over…time to go and start a new one. I am going to refresh and wrap my brain around this while I take some time to regroup. Thanks for the post!!

  14. “Take a look at the “thing” in front of you, just the thing. Drop all of the fears, judgments, opinions, and meanings you are giving that thing. Now just deal with the thing.” such wisdom in this, marci, and something i’ve been trying very hard to do recently. because i have always had difficulty forgiving and forgetting. i attach a lot of unnecessary feeling to things that have happened. i’m learning to let go and move on, and it’s been an incredibly freeing experience. thanks.

    1. April, ah yes, two of the biggies, forgiving and forgetting. For me forgiving is a choice, although not always easy an easy one to make, and forgetting is a discipline, each day reminding myself that what’s in the past shall not enter my today without my permission. :) Much love!

  15. This is deep and very much on point Marci. I agree, a lighter me feels much better. I will take it! It is definitely harder to do than to say but all worth the effort in the end. Thanks for these wonderful words and much needed life lesson. Life and let go.

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