“A story is like a relationship that you develop between who you are, or who you potentially can be, and the world of infinite possibilities,” says playwright Shekhar Kapur in his TED Talk. “The world is endless and you, you can actually be anything you believe you can be.”
Influence Of The Story
Few things have a greater impact on your life than the stories we tell ourselves. Tell yourself that you are a victim, you are going to act accordingly and before you know it you are that victim. Tell yourself you were born for success and it is likely that it will be your destiny.
The stories we weave about our lives and experiences color everything we perceive. They embody our beliefs and values. And they create our sense of identity. They therefore influence to a large extent the way in which we communicate with the world, how we interact with our environment.
So, despite the big impact stories have on our lives, most of us are hardly aware of what our stories are. Unconsciously linked, random events color our world view without us realizing it.
But if you know how to perceive your story and you are aware of it, then you can use its power to change your life into the life you really want to live. Do you want to get out of your story? Then the ‘Out of your Story’-walk might be something for you.
How Stories Come About
We cannot possibly consciously pay attention to everything around us and to everything we experience. So our brains filter out the most important things, so that what happens and is experienced can be coherent in a logical and meaningful way. Everything outside that context fades into the background and quickly becomes unconscious – if it has already been conscious.
Experiences that have a great emotional impact on us come to the foreground of our attention for a shorter or longer period of time. We interpret those experiences in a way that connects us with other people around us, and with (similar) experiences and the stories we hear and have heard about these. In this way we create storylines with our families, friends, our work, and about what we learn from the media and perceive from our culture. We distil values, norms and beliefs from it and if these fit within our own experiencial framework, we adopt them (whether or not adjusted).
Our Stories Shape Our Lives
Once we have a general storyline for ourselves, we become more aware of the experiences that support this storyline. You could say that our storyline is a kind of filter through which we perceive our life and our role in it.
The stories we tell ourselves about our lives are not just factual accounts of experiences. They also tell the emotional content, how we feel, what we think, and what possibilities and obstacles we see for ourselves in the future.
So if you live with little attention to your own storyline, you will continuously strengthen your own reality unconsciously. If your storyline has a lot of negative aspects, it may be very difficult for you to get away from it. Certainly without consciously paying attention to your own storyline it may be a hard task.
But it is also true that you can change your storyline. After all, you write your own story based on an explanation of what happened and happened to you. You have the opportunity to break away from it and see it in a different way so that you can make a different storyline. And you can choose to color that storyline yourself in a conscious way with experiences and connections that are meaningful to you in your new storyline.
Do you want to know more about how to let go of your old story and create a new storyline? Please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation introductory meeting.