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We can rewrite our stories

By • Oct 22nd, 2007 • Category: Personal Development

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We all have our stories. Our past manifests itself in the stories we live and tell. They are woven from a combination of values, beliefs, and survival techniques we learn from our families, our friends, our life experiences and our culture. Many of us have good stories. We live and tell them with great enthusiasm, proud of the experiences and people who shaped our lives and helped to create our stories.

On the scale of life though, bad stories balance and sometimes outweigh the good ones. Bad stories, sad stories abound and they can be limiting in their scope – keeping us stuck. The world is replete with people who live from day to day with that old cliché, “…a chip on their shoulder.” However hard they try, they can’t seem to shake off their backs the proverbial dreaded monkeys of despair, dependency, failure, fear, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and a host of other self-depleting negativity.

Sometimes we’re not even aware of the stories we’ve adopted as our own. We grew up hearing about who we are, what we’re like, what abilities we have or don’t have and we overlay those stories onto our lives as our own. As we grow older, we discover that we are holding onto stories that restrict our personal, professional, emotional and spiritual growth and development. But here’s the wonderful thing about stories. We can write new ones.

If you live and tell a story that leaves you standing on the sidewalk watching life parade by, there is hope. Though rooted in your past, you can re-write your story – a good story.

A good story –

1. Nurtures a right image of yourself and an appreciation for your place and purpose in the world.

2. Frees you from the victim mentality and builds confidence to seek out opportunities to grow and achieve.

3. Inspires creativity and a passion for life.

4. Helps you to face obstacles, deal with them and move forward.

5. Encourages you to maintain a positive attitude and a grateful heart in the face of difficulties.

Examining our stories –

Remember we began creating our stories when we were very young and did not have the knowledge, skills, mental capacities or resources to make sense of the world in any other way. Over the years our stories become very integrated into who we are. They keep us in a comfortable place. Through the unconscious filtering of reality, we keep ourselves stuck in the limitations of our story. We perceive the world through the lens of our stories and those perceptions could be positive or negative.

As adults, though, we are better equipped to figure out who we truly are and what is important to us. We are in a better position to determine what we need to do to get to who we want to be and what we want to do.

The stories we tell –

Our stories can inspire or confuse, motivate or manipulate, challenge or deflate, unite or divide, separate or connect. The stories we choose to tell about ourselves influence how people perceive us: a team player or loner, a victim or problem-solver, resilient or discouraged, approachable or distant. They help create a particular culture around us: trusting or distrusting, soul enhancing or soul depleting. Most importantly, they influence how we see ourselves. Our stories increase or decrease our potential to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

The most important stories we tell are the ones we tell about yourselves, to ourselves. For a long time one of my stories was my thoughts, words and feelings were either wrong or stupid. I remained silent in groups and at meetings fearing ridicule. Imagine that! I clung to that story for many years and it relegated me to the sidelines as a spectator to my life.

Eventually through the process of journaling, I learned that my story was deceptive, confining, limiting and detrimental to the person I was discovering on the inside, the person I wanted to be and the work I wanted to do. Slowly, with much prayer to keep from running ahead of what God Himself would reveal to me, I began rewriting the old story systematically replacing it with a new one. The new story is not complete and may never be. Nevertheless, my new story says that I have a voice and it is speaking through my writing.

Some basic components of a good story -

People who live vibrant, interesting, and fulfilling lives

(1) Sustain a strong faith in God and remain open to discover and live His purpose for their lives.

(2) Desire and practice honesty, openness, and fairness in their personal and professional relationships as well as in society.

(3) Maintain a positive attitude in difficult and life-changing situations and continue to be grateful for the smallest blessings.

Is your existing story keeping you stuck in a quagmire of negativity in all areas of your life? If your story does not describe who you are, who and what you want to be, and what you dream of doing with your life – change it. Rewrite it. Do whatever it takes to make sure that your new story reflects your spiritual beliefs, your individuality, your vision for your life, and your passion.

What story are you living? What story are you telling about yourself?

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