What’s Your Story?
When you talk about the big areas of your life, what do you say? In terms of your health, money, relationships, personal/spiritual growth, time, work and play what are the stories you tell about them? They don’t feel like “stories.” We experience them as facts. So asked another way, what are the facts you know to be true in regard to those big life areas?
Some of my storylines or facts feel good, life affirming and uplifting. In other areas my stories, that is to say my description of “how things are,” are more limiting and don’t feel so good.
That wouldn’t be all that interesting except for this. Notice that what you say about those areas and what you experience in those areas match really closely. The stories I think, believe and tell about my life match beautifully with how I experience my life—whether the stories are positive or negative. Whether my stories say, “Relationships are hard” or “My relationships rock,” “My body heals quickly” or “High blood pressure runs in my family,” “There’s not enough money to go around” or “Money has always been pretty easy to come by,” I always end up “right.” Meaning, how I describe things is generally the way they continue to show up. The normal argument or logic says, “Well of course that’s my story. Things happened in my life to then make me believe that’s the way things are.” But I think that’s backwards. I think we pick up thoughts, beliefs and habits of action (i.e. our “stories”) from lots of places including our parents, teachers and coaches, church, the news, friends, even You Tube, and then keep those ideas and expectations in motion creating more of what we are used to seeing. It’s an unconscious cycle that most of us don’t even know we are participating in.
I’m not saying that our experiences aren’t factual or real. Clearly they are. I just think that they are way more pliable than we realize. And one of the most powerful ways to change our experience is to change the story first. Easier said than done, but wildly important nonetheless. Here is your provocation for the week. Look honestly at the big areas: health, wealth, relationships, work/self-expression, time, personal/spiritual growth. Then go through your personal stories about each of them. Notice how clearly what you believe (i.e. your “story”) and what you experience match. Now take one specific thing that you would like to experience more positively (for example your relationship with your child, spouse, or parent, your work-life balance, how you pay your bills, what you eat, how you sleep, etc.) and begin to create a new story. The easiest way I have found to create a new, more beneficial story is to first stop telling the life-crunching one. No more complaining about it…to anyone.
Next, begin to tweak your facts, truths and beliefs with a sincere attempt to see it the way you want it. Was there even one time that s/he didn’t disappoint you? Is there even a small part of you that feels healthy or good today? Did you have the money any time this week to buy food and gas even if the prices are high? When you find even a tiny part of the story that matches the way you want it to be—hang on to it! Keep looking at it and keep telling that part of the story, to yourself and even to others. Pretend it’s true that the stories you tell will out-picture (or begin to show up) in your real experiences. Choose to tell a new life-affirming story. Be aware of how you feel as you do, and then see what begins to manifest in your experiences. We are powerful beings—in a really, really good way!