The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Whenever I’m having a down day it can often feel as though nothing is going right – i.e. nothing is going according to either ‘the plan’ or living up to innumerable other expectations. Any story I tell myself generally has me in the starring role as a character who has been mercilessly victimized by fate; this is not just simple disappointment. Oh, the indignity! Oh, the drama I can conjure! Or not.

It takes me a while to get round to the realization that mostly it is just a story, one with a particular perspective, point of view and prejudice that is making me miserable, at which point I realize that this particular story probably isn’t the only one I could be telling myself, nor may it be in my best interest. Then come the questions.

What is really happening here? Is the ‘failure’ perceived or actual? Is there an opportunity in all this that my dramatic story obscures from sight? What does this situation seem to want from me? We need to be very careful about the narratives we weave and the meanings we somewhat arbitrarily ascribe to them.

Truth most often is that there are least a few different perspectives on any given situation, that when viewed through their respective lenses render completely different, but nonetheless relevant, truths. The trick is in sifting carefully, deliberately and discerningly through all this material. For relief lies just on the other side of whatever insight bubbles to the surface from the depths of such a quest.

Patience will be required. This isn’t a quick fix. This is artful living.

Questioning the one story we have about almost anything going on in our lives is bound to be liberating for the compassion it elicits in making room for other points of view. Whole new worlds can open up – the adventure continues.