Human relationships are dominated by story telling. This is the bread and butter of all our relationships, our entertainment, our ability to connect, and our identities in general. What do we do on Monday morning after the weekend? We exchange stories as a means of fostering relationships with our co-workers (or perhaps just staving off the dreaded “Monday feeling”).
After work, Netflix or our platform of choice allows us to get lost in the stories of others and gather fodder for our next storytelling session to come. News stories, biased as they may be, provide endless content for weaving, deciphering, arguing, and modifying our own stories as they reflect our reactions to the world at large.
Long story short, human beings are innate storytellers in every area of life. Not only do we tell stories to our friends, loved ones, and colleagues, we also incessantly tell stories to ourselves in our everyday thinking.
This is my particular area of interest and expertise; the stories we tell ourselves; what no one else can see. In talking with clients, I have noticed a common theme that people feel bored, tired, or even victimized by the stories they believe in their minds. Many have shared that they have repetitive self-defeating thoughts; stories of why they cannot succeed, reliving past negative experiences, and so on.
It’s almost as though a bad TV drama is constantly playing in peoples’ minds. The allure of entertainment is powerful because we can temporarily get out of our own negative story and become enraptured by something else. Clients have told me they would rather experience anything besides the pain of their own thinking and self-judgment.
The interesting thing that can start to happen in sharing our most intimate stories with one another is that they begin to unravel and lose their negative power over us. For example, in speaking to people who have dealt with extreme trauma in the past, they can start to free themselves from the repetitive memories and inner dialogue over time simply by speaking or writing it out in a safe environment.
Like a movie or TV show, we can develop a sense of objectivity over even our most intimate thoughts, beliefs, and narratives. When I instruct people in meditation and mindfulness they learn how to see their own thoughts and emotions as they arise. This creates the ability to create themselves anew, without having to be bound to the past.
Like players on a stage, we all have our unique part to play in the divine epic of humanity. The question is, are we allowing our lives to be run by painful, unconscious narratives or are we getting in touch with our innate truth and acting upon it.
The present time is rife with opportunity to tap into and create a life worth living and a life worth loving. We needn’t be lost in negative story lines and merely distracting ourselves with the stories of others. We can fall in love with our own character and the part we are meant to play.
We are not merely passive observers watching our lives play out like a movie or TV show. We are creators and conscious participants that are able to influence our own lives and the lives of others for the better. The ability to harness our co-creative abilities depends on how much we are willing to let go of stories and beliefs that no longer serve us.
It’s been said that “all the world’s a stage.” Learning to love the character we are playing can transform the human drama into an epic story of heroes. We all have the power, and together we are even stronger.