Most of us don’t live in the real world. We think we do, but we don’t.
We live in a story. Actually, a collection of stories.
When we finally recognize that is the case, we can begin to change everything. What is your story?
“According to research in narrative psychology, an emerging field of study that examines how stories shape our lives and personalities, the stories we tell ourselves play a large role in who we are. “ (“What Your ‘Life Story’ Really Says About You” by Carolyn Gregoire, The Huffington Post)
Getting Lost in the Story
Our family, like most of the rest of the civilized world, went to see the latest Star Wars movie. I love a great movie: a good story on a big screen in surround sound, with popcorn! That night, even with the space travel and science fiction heroes, I still found myself getting lost in the story.
In real life, we all get lost in our stories. Reality and fiction intertwine until we lose track of which is which. In the process, our sense of self suffers. We find ourselves frustrated for the wrong reasons, sad about things that shouldn’t bother us, and more angry than we have reason to.
Our story controls much of how we think and how we feel. And our ability to recognize our issues and mistakes and make positive changes to improve becomes distorted.
“The stories we tell ourselves about our lives don’t just shape our personalities –- they are our personalities.” ( “The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By” by Dan McAdams)
Finding Our Story
We create stories about our experiences: I don’t like traffic. Sports are exciting. Anything that has risk is stupid. Mondays are depressing. My neighbors are friendly.
We construct stories about people: Frank is reliable and can be trusted. Susan is sweet but naïve. Andy is boring and talks too much.
We sometimes even devise stories about entire groups of people. That’s called prejudice.
Especially, we build stories about ourselves, and our inner voice is reciting our story constantly.
“I don’t fit in, and I know other peoples can tell. Everyone else seems to have it all together, but inside I’m scared. Sometimes, I wonder where my place should be, and I worry what the future will bring.”
Sometimes our story is a good one, but more often not. Pieces of the story may be based on truth, but distortions creep in relentlessly, unfairly exposing our fears and insecurities.
But, sadly, we pay almost no attention to the one, the only, story that is absolutely true:
“You are special, and I take great delight in you. I know everything about you, and I love you unconditionally. You are valuable to me, and there is wonderful purpose in your life.”
Recognize that how you perceive your life, how you live and deal with others, is greatly affected by the stories you choose to believe, and that many of them are false and harmful.
You can change your story and transform your life in the process. Let God be the one you listen to for the real story, the one that matters most. The one with the happy ending.
Question: What is the most powerful story affecting your life?
Action: Write down that story. Then, rewrite it to be the story you really need to hear.