Living Our Story

I think that each of us has a story that we tell ourselves about ourselves. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think we tell ourselves a story of who we are and how other people see us. Then we live within the plot line of the story we’re telling.

If, for example, in my story, I believe that I am not diabetic then I will act as if I do not have diabetes no matter what the reality of my symptoms are. If I am a writer in my story, then I will write. If, in the story I tell myself about myself, I believe that I am ugly or unworthy, then I will act ugly and unworthy. The story I write about myself is the story I live.

But here’s the thing. The story we tell ourselves does not actually exist. It’s the way we think and act that gives it reality.

Yes, there are facts in our lives. Those facts are not the story. The story we tell ourselves about ourselves is how we make all of the facts make sense, or how we rationalize it when we ignore them. The story we tell ourselves about ourselves is our idea of ourselves.

The good news is, because it’s a story, and because we are writing that story every day, we can choose to rewrite it. We can go into revisions.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Revisions are hard. And you do have those pesky facts in your life to accommodate. But the story we tell ourselves about ourselves is fluid and it can be changed.

So, I’d say that if you get discouraged or if you get into a negative thought pattern, you need to ask which part of the story you’re telling yourself. Are you telling yourself that you’re ugly? Are you telling yourself that you’re unworthy? Are you telling yourself that you’re worthless? Once you know the story, you can revise it. Because you aren’t ugly. And you aren’t unworthy. And you aren’t worthless. And those parts of your story are fiction, not fact.

Somebody said once that writing is rewriting. As we live out the stories of our lives, we have to remember that rewriting happens in other places besides the page.

In my humble opinion.

He only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

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