Human beings are storytellers. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from other living beings on this planet.
We tell stories. We tell them well. And we tell them all the time.
We tell stories to and about other people, the world, and ourselves. When we’re not telling stories, we are listening to stories.
From before we are born, other people tell stories about us: who we are, how we will engage with the world, what we have the capacity to come.
As we grow up, we hear these stories so often that we begin to tell them, to ourselves and to others.
We believe them.
What Are The Stories You Tell?
What do we mean by “story”?
When you have a sensation in your body and you call it pain, that’s a story.
The sensation in your stomach that you call fear is a story.
You tell stories about what’s wrong with you and what’s right with you.
Stories how the world works, about the future consequences of your actions, about the past.
You tell stories about who you are and what’s expected of you.
Stories about your roles, your intentions, your accomplishments, and your failures.
Not every story we tell is War and Peace. Many of our stories are just one word.
I’m a failure.
I’m the best.
I’m an expert.
The stories we tell and the stories we believe shape our lives, for better or for worse. We fall into patterns with our stories, often telling the same stories repeatedly.
The Power of Stories
Our stories are really good servants … and really terrible masters. When they are the masters they define us… Our stories can keep us trapped in a very small sense of self, or they can remind us of important ways to pay attention and to be that actually wake us up out of a confining sense of self.
She explains that
If you’re suffering, you’re believing a story that’s not serving you…. It’s dominating you, it’s defining you.
The First Step to Changing Your Story
We often forget that we have the power to change the stories we tell. Also, we can refuse to listen to the stories people tell us about ourselves.
Even if you think a story is true, you can change it.
And, anyway, all stories are lies.
As you hear yourself repeat the same story again, ask yourself this one simple question:
Is this story serving me?
If not, change the story.