The deeper truth is that I have a story but I am not my story ~ Debbie Ford
Storytelling has been a time-honoured tradition of many cultures throughout human history. It has been used to teach, discipline, invoke emotions, inspire, motivate, and to pass along values and life messages that transform and heal.
Today, story plays just as significant a role in evolution. Stories in film, books, art and media can:
- provide guidance, structure, and meaning by bringing context to our shared human life experiences.
- connect you to a deeper understanding of an event that can inspire behavioral change, and improve your quality of life.
- invoke empathy, understanding and compassion for others that can spark activism in social justice issues.
Your Personal Story Is the Echo of Your Experiences …
Just like the collective tradition of story that illuminates and motivates, we carry our personal inner story about who we are and how life is. It is formed as a result of past experiences from our upbringing and life circumstances.
You may have disabilities, or have lost loved ones or have been a victim of abuse. Perhaps you were bullied at school or were neglected by your siblings. Maybe you have internalized the crushing judgments from your parents. All these events and so much more become the background hum of your learned beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.
Whether you are conscious of it or not, your inner story shapes your perspective and drives your reactions to things that happen to you throughout your life. It is the narrative of how you have learned to avoid pain and still get your needs met.
You have just shared a controversial point of view. Your spouse shoots you a disapproving side-eye. Your thoughts spin ‘the look’ into a full-blown story that he/she thinks you are completely stupid and you feel ashamed and embarrassed. You tell yourself you are worthless and that you have nothing to offer the world. You may become angry at yourself for speaking up in the first place and you might also lash out at your partner for his perceived judgment of you.
The actual truth of the encounter from your spouse’s side may be completely different and not about judging you at all. However, when you are in the grip of the compelling inner script you have written about who you are, you cannot even consider another possibility.
Healing Your Inner Story
Your story is triggered by unhealed beliefs or memories of past experiences that feel similar to a current event. From the example, maybe you were shamed for speaking out at some point in your early life and the sting from that memory convinced you that you had nothing valuable to say. Speaking out as an adult can trigger the same diminished feelings if there is disagreement with you.
Your story can get in the way of your happiness. It can stop your personal development and prevent you from contributing your gifts to the world.
How do you stop engaging in noisy internal conversations that feed on the lies you believe about yourself? How do you unhook from the spin of self-abuse that keeps you from seeing your authentic, Divine essence?
- See your story as just your story. Doing this takes away some of its power over you.
- Give your story a book title – Doing this quantifies the experience and provides crucial information about what the story is trying to tell you
- Reflect and journal about how your thought processes and emotions (your story) affect your everyday behaviour. Start to recognise your story in action in your life. Heal the wounds your story (and related behaviour) is protecting.
- Engage Breathwork to release the lie you have made up about yourself, the world and your place in it and to reset the truth that you are whole, alive, loving and needed in the world.
There is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle ~ C. Larson