Each one of us has a story about who we are and the role we play in our world. It is a story that we a familiar with. We have it memorized. We can recall it in an instant. And we share it with everybody.
But more important, it is the story we tell ourselves over and over and over. And soon enough it becomes our not-so-secret identity.
The problem is these stories are usually negative. We rarely focus on our positive traits. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
I’m the good child who doesn’t make waves.
I’m the family black sheep.
I’m the cute one, not the smart one.
I’m the people pleaser.
I’m the stalwart employee.
The thing is, these stories are false. They’re not true. They are just comfortable lies that we feed ourselves to keep our delicate ego from getting hurt. We use them to stay inside of fear, to shield ourselves from the risk of failure, rejection, and embarrassment. We tell ourselves, sometimes subconsciously, “Stick to the story. Don’t deviate from what is expected of you. Everyone else needs you to be and remain as you are.” And if by chance we do try something new or daring or outside our normal scope, and then fail, then we have a convenient excuse to make ourselves feel better.
If I tell myself the story that I am a procrastinator and then procrastinate, then I get to say, “See? I’m a procrastinator. That’s what procrastinators do,” and I’m off the hook.
Stupid is as stupid does, right?
Our story can become an endless loop that keeps us in inaction, broken dreams, and missed opportunities if we let it.
But here’s the catch: We can let go of our story, any story, whenever we want. And start a new one. We can choose a new path. We can take new actions. We can rewrite our story at will, as often as we like. We can say, “The old me would put things off. I was funny that way. The new me doesn’t. See, I’m writing this blog post right now instead of just thinking about it.”
Joseph Campbell said, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
We can rewrite our personal story any time we want. What is your new story going to be?