Ever since I was little, my favorite word has been a five-letter word: STORY.
My paternal grandmother whom I called Thaathi was the one who opened the doors to the magical world of stories and storytelling.
Five decades later, my greatest joy still comes from sharing and receiving stories. I even created a storytelling group in senior living which is in its ninth year.
In fact, story is such a powerful thing that it determines how we live our lives.
Some of the most powerless stories we tell when we’re grieving a loss are storylines we create from fear. They usually involve two words: always and never.
I’ll always be alone.
I’ll never find love again.
I’ll always wonder why I didn’t call him one last time.
I’ll never get over this loss.
I’ll never know why she chose to die when I left the room for two minutes.
The stories we tell are so profound that they create our experience of life.
Events happen. We tell a story about the event. And this creates our experience of the event. Take a regular example like a friend who never returned your call. It’s so easy to make up all kinds of stories about it in a matter of minutes.
She doesn’t care about me.
Why should I be the one to call every time?
She’s always giving me busy vibes.
These thoughts produce stress.
Someone else may tell an entirely different kind of story about the call that didn’t come.
Maybe she’s in a meeting.
Maybe my call didn’t register on her phone. It happens.
Maybe she forgot her phone at home.
I don’t know why she hasn’t called, but I’ll know when she does.
These stories create a little bit of room. They allow you to breathe and relax by imagining a more positive outcome. Any one of these scenarios could be true. So why take on the stress-producing thought?
I’ve spent a lot of time tangled up in disempowering thoughts (and still do, if I’m not mindful). I’ve had to consciously unravel myself to create the endings I desire.
To recognize a victim story we’re making up and choosing to change it is an act of courage. It is something we’re called to do every single day. Ask yourself what storyline you’re tangled in. How can you reframe this story? How can you script an ending you like? How can you use your story to help someone write a powerful story for themselves?
You and only you have the power to shape your story. What’s it going to be? Need some help?