Ever since we moved into our own apartment, I (Tay) have developed an unhealthy relationship with the electric stove.
Every time we leave the house, I would experience a gnawing fear that I had left the stove on. It’s like an automatic trigger:
Leave the house = Begin stove paranoia.
“Did I use the stove earlier? Did I turn it off? Should I go back and check?”
Most times, I’m lucky. I’d be standing outside the door that I’d just locked when the trigger happens. So all I needed to do was to reopen the door again and double, triple checked that I had, indeed, turned the stove off.
Other times, we’d have taken the elevator to the ground floor, then I’d stop dead in my tracks, turned to Val and ask her, “Do you remember seeing me turn the stove off?” I’d always insist on running back upstairs to check it… just in case!
And more often than I want to admit, we’d be in a car, already en-route our destination, when it’d hit me: “Did I turn the stove off???”
I’d then turn to Val and demand reassurance: “Did I turn off the stove? Tell me I turned the stove off before we left the house? Did I? Did you see me do so?”
Val’s standard reply: “I don’t know. Do you want us to turn back?”
I’d say no… but then worry about it the whole time we were out, until we returned home in the evening.
It’s super annoying for Val, because I could only be half present to whatever we were out for. A huge part of me was constantly worrying about the stove being left on.
It’s also super frustrating for me, because the stove seems to have this mysterious way of keeping half of me at home, whenever I leave the house…
And I just can’t seem to get rid of it!
Have you experienced something similar?
An automatic trigger that launches a series of physical sensations, gripping emotions, and paralyzing thoughts that render you helpless…
For the record, despite my paranoia, I’ve never actually left the stove on when we’re not at home. Not once.
But for as long as we’ve lived in that apartment, I struggled with co-dependency from that damn stove…
Until one day, Val had enough of it.
5 mins before we were about to arrive at our destination and step into an appointment, the trigger happened.
My heart was racing, my shoulders were tensed up, and I could feel a headache coming.
I knew we wouldn’t be home till 8 hours later. The thought of going home to a burned down apartment turned my hands and feet cold.
I turned to Val, panicking, “Did I turn the stove off???”
Here’s what she said to me:
“Look, I don’t know if you’d turned the stove off. But I trust that you’re mindful enough to turn the stove off after you have used it.”
For her, that was it. End of story.
But my panic and paranoia escalated: “Are you not worried? I don’t want to go back to a burned down apartment!”
Val looked at me straight in the eye, and said, very calmly:
“Do you not trust that you are mindful enough to turn the stove off after you’ve used it?”
My heart stopped racing. My shoulders relaxed. And the stove was no longer screaming “Fire!” in my head.
This isn’t about the stove is it?
This is about self-trust.
“I did not trust that I would be mindful enough to turn the stove off right after I had finished using it.”
I sat with this sentence for a good 2 mins in the car.
The sentence felt true for the first minute…
Then I realized, it was an awfully old story – an expired story.
“I don’t trust myself to be mindful” is an expired old story.
I had used this story to remind myself to be mindful.
But I no longer needed this reminder. I no longer need to ‘burn the house down’ in order to be mindful.
I AM mindful.
In fact, “I completely trust myself to be mindful.”
And so it is. And that was it.
After those 2 minutes, I stopped asking, “Did I turn the stove off?” whenever we left the house.
Because I knew I did. I trust myself that I had.
I stopped leaving a part of me locked at home, pacing in front of the stove.
I got to live my outside life, 100% present.
And that, is such a liberating place to be – a place of self-trust.
(I have a new relationship with my stove now. It reminds me that I trust myself! :))
What about you?
Do you also have an old, expired story around trust?
I don’t trust the plan
I don’t trust the results I’m getting isn’t a one-time fluke
I don’t trust the business model
I don’t trust the system
I don’t trust that it can be so easy
I don’t trust ___________________ (fill in the blank)
And at the heart of it all… “I don’t trust myself.”
Write it down.
Sit with it.
Is it still true? Or is it an old expired story?
Release it with gratitude.
And replace it with:
“I trust myself.”
Take 2 minutes to trust yourself.
When you’re done, leave a comment and let us know:
We’d love to hear your takeaways; as well as any other tools you use to deal with expired stories, especially around trust.
P.S. We get that trust is a sensitive “issue in our tissues” – which is why this is a conversation we want to have, why we shared our personal experience and tools, and why we’d love your input, too. If you know of anyone who has a similar “stove” in their lives, do share this post with them – they would so appreciate a tool to help them put out the “fires” in their heads!