In my life I help a lot of people. In fact I believe that one of the most precious gifts you can give someone is quality time, because time is the one thing each of us has humans can never get back in your life. In helping people deal with the challenges they face I’ve come to realise that:
Everyone has a Story to Tell
I have not met a single person who does not have something in their past that still effects them today. It could be bullying at school, a bad childhood, a broken relationship, parents divorcing…and the list goes on. For some people these events (or stories) were highly traumatic and therefore still haunt them today, acting as a weight that drags them down. For others, their stories are more subtle in how they influence their present state of being.
What’s your Story? What’s your Identity?
When I first started realising that everyone had a ‘story’, I also began to realise that many people were holding onto their stories as a source of identity for who they are today. At one level, this made sense, because our stories were a part of our past, and hence were a part of the experiences we’d had. However, on another level I was baffled – why would anyone allow themselves to form an identity based on the negative events of the past? Why would we allow such a weight to continue to hang around our necks as a form of weight on our soul, preventing us from being who we truly could be?
This epiphany on the connection between our stories and identity was great, as today it enables me to challenge people in two ways:
- The first point of challenge is: What’s the story that you are holding onto and how does that shape the identity that you’ve formed for yourself? That is, how is your story impacting on how you show up in the world through your thoughts, attitudes, behaviours and beliefs. And more critically, how is this helping you be all you can be, or holding you back?
- The second point of challenge is: What’s another way of telling that story? Too often we choose one version of the story, that for many is classically the more negative version. Fortunately however, we can choose to change this by crafting another version – we can unpack the negatives and draw out the more positive interpretations of all the events, regardless of how bad they were.
From all the experiences I’ve had, I know that life is too short to allow the negative stories of your past define who you are today. Often we allow this to happen because we find a bizarre sense of comfort in the identity that’s created; it’s familiar, and the brain is wired to like familiarity. But, the version of the story we’re currently holding doesn’t have to be the only one – after all it is just a story.
My challenge to you is therefore, to consider:
* What stories do you have about you, and how are you allowing them to define who you are today?
* What’s an alternate version of those stories that allows you to create the real definition of who you truly are and can be?
Through the stories we tell and hold on to, we define who we are in this world. So, if this is the case, why wouldn’t we tell stories that help us live in a state of unconditional happiness – a state of inner contentment and peace of mind. Why wouldn’t we tell stories about ourselves that we love telling?
Become the author of your life – craft your own stories about the real you!