Stories are powerful. We tell them every day. They surround us and shape how we make sense of our lives and the world around us.
Stories have the magical way of becoming a part of the very fabric of our lives: our memories, our feelings, and our sense of justice and faith
But by far, the most powerful stories we will ever tell are the ones we tell ourselves. They are the stories of who we are, why we are here and where we are going.
The stories we tell ourselves are as real to us as the feeling of rain on our face. They take on shape and form in our minds, directing our perceptions of the world around us. Through those stories we decide how to see our world, estimate our abilities, and approach our relationships and connections.
We grow so accustomed to thinking of life in terms of stories that the lines become blurred between what is truth and what is simply a story.
Some of those stories inspire us to do better, to become greater and to reach further. Some of them, however, entice us into playing small, to back off from personal or professional growth, and to even sabotage relationships and opportunities.
All of this is because of simple stories that we cling to, pressing “play and repeat”, over and over again.
But how can we change something if we don’t understand why it’s important in the first place? Here’s why the stories we tell ourselves matter.
1.The Stories we tell ourselves are 100% subjective.
We are the ones that will choose which ones we will believe (no matter how many times our emotions or experience may tell us otherwise).
The ancient ruler, Solomon, once declared that everything apart from purpose was meaningless.
Stories show us how to assign purpose to what we do, based on who we are, the values we hold dear, and the dreams that we want to see fulfilled. The stories we tell ourselves around all of these things can be layered and complex – but in the end, it is simply a story that we are choosing to live out every day.
For example, if that story we believe about our worth is based around an experience of failure or hurt, without deciding we will change that story, we will continue to tell it to ourselves time and again.
2.Our stories can be transformed from being about the past to being about what we choose to believe and claim for ourselves from this moment forward.
This is especially important when we seek to connect with other people, mend broken bridges and create futures together.
The past is a memory. We are moving forward, not backward. This is kind of mind bending to consider, but when we are basing our current perception of what’s possible on a story that we are stuck in, we are not in the present. This kind of focus makes us incapable of considering what’s possible because it’s overshadowed by history.
When we are living in the past there’s no hope of change
But when we decide that our story is going to be about more than disappointment, wrong choices or lack of confidence, we begin to understand how it can be transformed into something better. Through our faith and focus, we begin to create a new story for our lives that acknowledges history and recognizes what’s possible from this moment forward.
- Stories can help us clarify what’s truly important to us and how we can shape our future on those values and beliefs.
Think of a story of fear that you know you are holding on to. What if you considered for a moment what life could look like without that fear or avoidance?
What would be possible for you if that avoidance of embracing something wasn’t part of the stories you tell yourself around your abilities?
And most of all, how do you even begin to change those stories that you know are inhibiting your ability to do or become what you truly believe you are capable of accomplishing?
Good news! This is the fun part! Stories can be transformed.
In fact, they already have been transformed through the ultimate story of love.
And that love is patient, kind, and it keeps no record of wrongs. That love doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. That love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres?
This love never fails because God is the source of love.
This love is without limits: it loves the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, this love also embraces the whole story in its entirety.
And we are not used to that, are we? We hang on to the ugly bits like trophies sometimes. We can secretly tell ourselves that the story around them can’t be changed; that somehow we are the exception to the whole “relentless love of God”.
But guess what? Despite what your past, shame, remorse, hurt or otherwise has tried to tell you…you are not the exception. You are just as lovable as the next person. And if that’s true, it means that you are also just as capable of deciding what stories you are going to build your life on.
And that, dear friend, sounds like the perfect place to find yourself.
So here is where you can begin…
Start with asking yourself a more beautiful question:
What would be possible in my life if I was willing to embrace the Love of God to transform the stories I tell myself?
Christal Earle is a passionate communicator and powerhouse of inspiration and insight. Over the course of her career she has co-founded an internationally recognized charity (www.livedifferent.com), worked with numerous clients and audiences around the world focused on humanitarian endeavours driven by vision and the entrepreneurial spirit.