You know, we often get caught up in stories.
Stories can be so very powerful. Think about your favorite movie….the story line is often the power. Even if you don’t like Star Wars, you have to admit that there is power of the story there. Despite all of the special effects and interesting aliens, technology, powers, and gadgets; without the story it would have been forgotten about by now. Star Wars continues to be popular because the story is powerful and connects us. We feel good and identify with the story. We see ourselves in parts of the story and want to see ourselves in other parts.
We connect with people, organizations, brands, cultures and TV shows because of the story. Have you ever had the experience of not knowing someone or some organization, then you hear their story, and you’re suddenly connected? We do have more of a connection if there are similarities in our own lives or stories, but even if not, when we hear a story, we understand, we paint a picture in our heads and we know.
Did you ever notice how some people have a story? Maybe they talk about an injury, about a person that hurt them, a job they lost, or something in their past? What’s your story? Our story often discuss who have helped us and who hurt us. We get really attached to our own stories, don’t we? Sometimes we feel comfort in our stories. Stories connect us because they simply the complex, they highlight the emotions, they make experiences real, and they allow us to become part of the story. Stories can create metaphors.
However, I think that we all lose sight on how our stories can limit us, restrict us, and how they can basically become an excuse for why we are not doing better. Too many times, our stories essentially say, “This is how it is for me, this is my reality.” We get lost in the past too much and we then think that we’re caught in the past. I don’t think that we even realize that we are getting caught up in our stories.
“I was in a car wreck and…” or “I was in a divorce and…” or “I had this failure/loss and…” or “I lost this person from my life and…” We can hear other’s stories like this, right? We can hear our own stories too, right?
We all fail to realize that there are two sides to every story. We can easily change our story. We are not ‘telling it like it is’ — there is always another way to tell our story. Instead of telling the same old story, I bet that you can go back and highlight other parts of your life and experiences.
“We can not change anything until we first accept it.” Carl Jung
“You can not change your life until you accept responsibility for creating it.” Andy Dooley
A story can be empowering or it can be limiting. Unfortunately most of us unknowingly tell ourselves and people around us stories that do not empower us. Do your stories talk about “what happened to you” or what went well? Do your stories talk about what was right/what worked – or what went wrong?
We create our state of mind, our interpretation of the past, and we create our present and future by our stories.
Think about your story for a moment – you know the one that you tell a friend, a stranger, and especially the one that you tell yourself. Does it highlight how things happened to you and explains why you are “here” and not “there”? Does the story talk about being overwhelmed? In some way does it highlight what didn’t work?
If you believe in creating your own vibrations in life, in the Law of Attraction, in anything like that, then you want your story to create the correct reality for you. Because whatever your story is – good / bad /happy/sad – that will be your reality. Your story is how you perceive life, it is what you focus on….so focus on what you want and focus on what feels good.
If you focus on what’s wrong with you, what’s wrong with the world – you will be unhappy and if you believe in the Law of Attraction, you will create “that” reality.
Author Andy Dooley uses this as an analogy; think of a rocket ship. Picture it. Think of a rocket ship for each of your desires right now. See the rocket ship for each. Think of your emotions as rocket fuel. The rocket doesn’t go anywhere with fuel – without the emotion…without the right emotion. That is why it is so important to create a good story going forward as if it has already happened – as if your goal/desire has already been accomplished. When you get a good story; it should talk about good things in the past and in the future. Add emotions and the rocket will blast off and fly far.
“Imagination and emotion are the most concentrated forms of energy that you possess as a physical creature.” Jane Roberts
For a long time I was stuck in a less than empowering story. I lost my job, I lost both my parents, and experienced losses from investment properties – all within 6 months or less during 2009. All that is true, sure, but my story focused on those events alone. There were good things along the way that I ignored. The way I interpreted the past certainly didn’t help my future.
Honestly, I believe that part of those events came about because ‘my story’ before 2009 was incredibly negative. Before I lost my parents and my job and thousands of dollars, I was unhappy with many aspects of my life, a life that I really should have enjoyed and appreciated. I was unhappy with a great job that I had. I was unhappy with my wife and life in general.
I had some very nice income, a very nice home, a great job that I really wanted back (after I lost it) and a wonderful wife. But I focused on what wasn’t working.
Working from home, I complained about not interacting with others as much. (I actually was on the phone all the time and I went out and visited with people but that was my focus. Plus, how many people would love to work at home and make a nice income?) My home was/is very nice but I focused on silly things that weren’t working instead of the beauty and nature of it. My wife and I had and have a great relationship, I was simply focusing on little things she did wrong – that any of us do – and ignored the many great things she did. I was unhappy with so many wonderful things…then I lost most of them or felt the threat of losing them.
For a few years I had been telling a story about my job that highlighted the bad parts. Then after I lost my job and my parents, I finally realized how much I really liked my job and my life before – yet I still told a story that didn’t empower me. My story was about how these things ‘hit me’ and how I felt like I was down for the count, how the wind was knocked out of me, how I was spun for a loop, how my head wasn’t on straight. I actually could picture myself sitting down, holding my head as if I had been hit or shaken. Not very empowering.
You see, in my story to others, I used those phrases and cliches. I recall feeling like I was in a prize fight and got knocked around and got knocked down- it was because that’s how I described the experiences to those around me. Do you think that someone in this state can make good decisions? No.
I made decisions like I was smacked around. My decisions were filled with panic, desparation as if I was under duress. My decisions worsened my situation in many cases and added to a weak story.
Also, my story was almost completely looking into the past only. I wasn’t looking forward. This isn’t healthy. Think when you graduated high school or college – or another time when you were young and excited. You were looking into the future. Your story was about tomorrow. My story – and many of us do this as we age – was locked in the past. We can’t create a future by looking into a dreary past.
During that time period, I had accomplishments, I had lucky things come my way, I had made some good relationships, I did some good stuff and good stuff happened to me – but my story rarely if ever spoke of it. How about your story?
It does take a lot of energy for a rocket to take off. It does take a lot for a dream/desire/goal to take off. But if you add emotion, imagination, and empowering thoughts, you can fuel the dream. If you allow fear, desparation, and negative emotions to fuel your rocket, it will take off in the wrong direction.
So – does your story make you feel good? When you tell it to yourself or someone, do you feel drained? Empowered? Abused? Victimized? Does the other person just feel sorry for you? I know with my story, I got lots of sympathy and shared sorrow. People did offer love and support and that was great but it was if I was like a wounded soldier in a hospital bed. People reached out and offered kindness but I wasn’t the guy that they came to to make things happen, I wasn’t a leader, I wasn’t confident, charismatic, happy, or anything good with the story I was telling.
I think the life of an actor can be good or bad – but one aspect would be really great – living the life of someone else. But guess what? We can create that ‘someone else’, at least create it in little ways in our own life.
Whether you know it or not, you are living your life according to your story. If you want to change your life, you must first accept your current situation, realize what story you’re using now – and then change it. Make your story powerful, empowering, happy, grateful – make it more about how you feel good, about good emotions – than about materialistic things. Create a story that builds you up, that brings things to you, that sends out good vibrations. Create a story that you want.