How Finding Your Story Can Change Your Life
We are all storytellers, every single one of us. We might not know we are, but we are.
In fact, we aren’t just storytellers, we are prolific storytellers.
Every minute, hour and day of our lives we are telling ourselves stories. When we wake up in the morning, often after dreaming vivid and colourful stories, we tell ourselves the story of how our day is going to go, based on various factors - the weather outside, how much sleep we had, what challenges we project the day will present, our past experiences of the previous day or week. Then we look in the mirror and tell ourselves a series of stories about how we should or shouldn’t look. We travel to work and we tell ourselves stories about the people we meet along the way, in the form of judgements and preconceptions. Stories are everywhere, although mostly inside our own minds.
Many of the stories we carry around in our heads are based on assumptions and unexamined lies we have been told or repeatedly tell ourselves. From the minute we are born our parents tell us things to amuse and educate us and we take it as gospel - we are taught stories, poems, fairytales, myths and nursery rhymes; we are encouraged to believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. As we grow up it’s the role of our teachers to shape our world. A bombardment of social media, news, music, television, films and books adds further noise to the soundtrack playing inside our heads. All these external influences that we internalise into our own personal stories create our experience of the world, for better or for worse.
We create these stories to try and make sense of the world. They give us a sense of safety and control, when the reality is that the world often feels uncertain and scary to us. There’s nothing inherently wrong in doing this; the need to make sense of things is a by-product of the human mind. Our problems start when we lose sight of the fact that so much of the content of our mind is just a story, and we believe the stories we tell ourselves and don’t question the validity of the source.
How many times have you suffered unnecessarily worrying about something that never eventually happened? How many times has your mind created a worst-case scenario story that you were certain was going to happen, but didn’t?
“I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” - Mark Twain.
So we are actually expert storytellers after all, it’s just that perhaps we haven’t necessarily been telling ourselves the right kind of story. With greater awareness and the right kind of understanding, we can learn to discover a great deal from the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell others about ourselves. With that clarity, comes greater freedom. We are no longer a slave to our assumptions, our beliefs and the lies we used to tell ourselves, we can now start to create a new, and more fulfilling story.
My aim is to help you develop the awareness to identify the stories that have been shaping your life, and to learn to tell more authentic and empowering stories.