Did you realize that most people you know identify themselves through stories? And did you realize that you might do that, too?
Most of us live in stories we created ourselves.
There are stories related to others – like stories of our childhood and our unfulfilled needs, stories of relationships full of heartbreaks and cheating, stories of friendships and of being misunderstood, stories of jobs, colleagues and principals full of injustice, exploitation and discrimination.
And there are stories we tell about ourselves – like being too old, too young, too thick, too thin, too scared, too untalented, too sick, too whatever.
And by repeating these stories again and again we create patterns and habits and we lock ourselves into a cage without being aware of it.
We identify ourselves and others as heroes or victims, good ones or bad ones, we identify with our age, our generation, our ethnic heritage, our religion, our families, our peer group etc.
And strangely enough the vast majority of our stories seem to be somehow negative – full of resentments, fears, regrets, anxieties, old wounds and losses.
We tell ourselves stories about what happened in the past and what is happening at the moment. But we do not stop with this. We even tell ourselves stories about the future: that we will not have enough money for the journey of our dreams, that our children will not get a job if we don’t push them to be the best at school, that we will never find the right partner because we are not good enough, that we will never be able to earn a living with our creativity and so on and so on and so on…..
Many of us assume the worst without ever inquiring into the story behind it or spend endless time in their head solving problems that aren’t even there.
What would happen if we just paused for a moment to challenge our stories and to question their truth and irrefutability?
Wouldn’t we realise that there is a difference between the facts of what happened in a situation, and the meaning, interpretation, or story about those facts? That different people experiencing the same situation create different stories about it? That people frequently confuse mere facts with their own story about them, and, as a consequence, experience suffering in their lives?
Wouldn’t we realise that we repeat stories that are not ours, but our parents’, friends’, colleagues’, teachers’ or whoever’s? And that we honestly never questioned these stories? Never spared a thought if what we are telling to others or ourselves is what we actually believe?
We’ve been living in our stories for so long that we don’t know how to consider the possibility that they’re just that — stories. We have believed these stories for so many years that they have come to define who we are — or who we think we are. We cling to our stories as our identities.
And this is the reason why so many people that we hear talking about their problems (and Facebook is full of these stories and comments) in reality do not want an end to their issues. Their story is their identity and solving their story and ending their problem(s) would represent the danger of losing their identity.
Instead of freedom and discovering who we really are without all this old ballast we are dragging behind us, we rather persist in our cage of misery and complaint.
So the provoking question of this month is: “Who are you or would you be without your story? Who would you be without your limited and ultimately fictitious sense of identity? Who would you see in the mirror?”
There are many ways to find the answer to these questions – one of it is to participate in my next workshop “Who am I without my story?” on June 24/25 2017.
Looking forward to seeing some of you there and wishing all of you a wonderful early summer.