The quality of your life is based on the quality of the story you tell yourself about it. So what’s your story?
Regardless of if you see yourself as a success or failure there is going to be a story that goes along with this perception. That story is something that you hold onto which inevitably ends up controlling your belief system. You review your story whenever it is convenient for the psyche to reassure itself that it is correct.
A statement such as ‘I always fail’ or ‘I am always depressed’ is a tail that people constructed themselves. They take the current situation, reflect it on prior experiences to back up their case, connect the dots and then voila! Their right!!! And why are they right? Because their ego required validation for its current belief system.
Put simply, we collect random moments in our life, connected them together and then give ourselves a label. This label may only be focused on one aspect of our life or it may go much greater by defining our entire existence. Regardless, we have told ourselves a story and now this story is our reality. We have taken our emotions from the past and applied them to the present. And this is where it gets very interesting. These moments are not the sum of our lives. They are not us! At any moment we can go back into old memories (with heightened negative emotions) and change our story.
Victims of cancer who have gone through treatment often get encouraged to tell others that they are a survivor. It takes a very emotionally dark time in a person’s life and changes the story dramatically. The victim is no longer the unlucky person who had to undergo this trauma, instead, they are a survivor and they will now use this part of their life as a form of strength. Each time they look back at things such as chemotherapy they think positively instead of negatively. They see that this moment in their life made them review mortality which gave them a second chance to live life in a positive light.
You hear this story in many different ways. Our greatest heroes throughout history are people that have often gone through times of hardship. During their struggle many have had to change their story from being the victim to being something much greater. They apply a purpose to their existence, they give themselves a meaning within this life, and then they obtain the strength to fight for what they believe is right. And it is here that we must learn our lesson. At any moment in our life we can apply a different story to the one we already tell ourselves. We do this by simply looking at our path objectively and disconnecting our negative focus by replacing our beliefs with a higher purpose.
This is not about ignoring our past nor is it about covering up the nasty parts. I am talking about changing our negative tail to a story that propels us forward in life. If your current reality is tainted, limited, supressed or manipulated by your history, then this is because you have already fabricated a story about it. So why not come up with a better story… Your new story will be neither true nor false. Your old story will be neither true nor false. The only thing you can know for sure is that what you believe is true, is actually true, because you believe it.
On a side note, for those of you who are reading this that connect with non-duality, Buddhism or a belief system that states that the story doesn’t exist (and that the best thing to do is discard the story) I do see your point of view and in many ways agree with it. I think your story about there being no story is a great story that you should write a story about. Ahem… But to be serious, acknowledgement that there is no story is just as powerful as changing it, if not more so. Essentially it’s the same construct. The only difference is that instead of replacing the story, you realise that there is no story. I will be giving more clarification about both points of view in chapter 3 called ‘The Past’.