One of my friends recently wrote to me to update me on a love affair that hadn’t quite worked out how she wanted… and at the end of the brief tale she wrote “I guess that’s the story of my life”.
And of course it will be – because that’s what she’s declaring. “I’m never going to get the relationship that I want – because that’s how it always happens for me”. It’s not just relationships that we do this with… we say “I’ll never get the job I want – it always goes to someone younger” or “Nothing good ever happens to me”. And what about “Everything I do goes wrong”?
Story is a huge part of our life – the human race has always told stories to pass on truth from one generation to another.. and we’ve always loved to tell stories of what’s happened to us. So it’s programmed into us that our stories are true.
We really do get what we say – our words are actually incredibly creative.
Now this is true at all sorts of levels. At the psychological level, we are actually programming our expectation of what is going to happen, to the point where we start to look for all the indicators that support our story, and we find ourselves following the plot line – over and over again. It’s safe – we know how the story ends! No nasty surprises, even if it’s a bit dull.
Once we’ve set our mind to think in a certain way, we start to filter our perception of the world according to that program. We notice the things that support that program, and ignore things that don’t.
At an even deeper level, we are our story. It becomes our identity. So if, in our story, we’re the victim, or if we’re always on the wrong end of a heart-wrenching love affair, then we will find ways of preserving that identity. It’s actually the thing that we will fight to defend at all costs. My identity used to be that of a father – and I would defend that identity at huge cost to myself in terms of relationships that foundered under the pressure of my duty to my children, promotions that I passed up to maintain that sense of being a father. Now, that’s actually worked out well – the friendship I have with my children is amazing… but now I am choosing to learn to let go of that identity and step into something new.
And at an even deeper spiritual level, I happen to believe that our words are truly creative. That when we say something, then it becomes true. The words “I am” are the most incredibly creative words in the Universe – it’s no surprise that when God announced his identity to Moses at the burning bush, she used the words “I am that I am”. We share that. We are what we say we are. Life is what we say it is. The world we experience is the world we say we experience. Life proceeds out of our intentions for it.
If we always describe our world in negatives, if we are always putting ourselves down, if we’re always expecting the worst… well, guess what? That’s what we get. But when we start speaking positively, using powerful words that change our situation… surprise, surprise… our situation changes.
When we truly understand our potential to define our world – then our world will change.
Now, actually, my friend knows this – but it’s so easy to fall into the trap of expecting that it’s always going to be how it was.
So what’s the secret? Change the story. We are creative beings. If you don’t like the story that you’re in – change it. Don’t tell yourself “This is just who I am”. That’s another story. You’re not a character in a soap opera, your reality proscribed by the script. You’re the story teller, the script writer. Tell another story. Tell it how you want it.
Randy Gage tells a story of a friend of his who is a movie scriptwriter. His recommendation is that you sit down and write a story of your life the way you want it. Describe it in every detail – maybe make it a script of your perfect weekend, or your perfect day in business. Maybe make it a script of the day of your wedding, or the moment you receive an award. Fill in all the details. Where are you? What are you wearing? What are the scents in the air? How does it feel? Who’s in the story with you? Make it rich, make it detailed, make it live. Then read it through from time to time, letting it soak in to your being. Improve it as you go. Make it even better. You’ll find that life starts to become like your new story.
It’s over to you . . .
First, start noticing the story you’re telling. Look out for “that’s just my luck”, or “that always happens to me” or “that never happens to me”. (A friend of mine used to say “always refrain from saying ‘always’ and never say ‘never’”).
Then decide that you’re going to drop that story. Really. Just. Drop. It. Now.
Then decide what your new story is. You’re the hero, the heroine. Write it the way you want it. Then go out and live it the way you wrote it.
It’s your life. You decide how it is.
…and remember – you are amazing!
original text and images © Timothy Hodgson 2011