Stories are incredibly important to us.
As children most of us learned the word “story,” and we often attached that word to any and all content we read or heard that was fictional in nature.
But later in life, the word “stories” took on new meaning. Stories became ways or modes of talking about an experience we had.
Perhaps about a big event that happened earlier that day.
Like that interesting person you met in the lobby.
Or that report you wrote that everyone liked.
Or that patient you saved.
Or that vacation you went on.
That beautiful hike near the falls.
That incredible coffee.
That delicious pastry.
You get the idea.
Sometimes our stories are not spoken but internalized.
Sometimes they’re positive and sometimes they’re negative.
We meet someone for the first time, and we tell ourselves a story about why that person is the way that they are. Why they look like that. Why they talk that way. Where they come from. We smirk with delight at our deductions on the intricacies of human behavior and social status.
We’re good at telling other people’s stories (or so we think).
But the stories we are telling don’t end with others. Most of our energy, most of our time it seems, is spent telling and crafting and writing our own stories, often subconsciously of every minute of every day of every week of our life.
When someone (perhaps a spouse or friend or coworker) says something that makes us feel loved, we tell ourselves a story about why we’re loved.
Or when someone says something that hurt us, and we tell ourselves a story about why they hurt us.
Or when we lost our job and we tell ourselves a story about why we couldn’t get hired.
Or we never got the job in the first place (after investing so much time into our application), and we tell ourselves a story.
Why we didn’t get the raise.
Why we can’t make friends easy.
Why we have an ongoing medical condition.
Why we can’t lose weight or stay in shape.
Why there’s never enough time in the day.
Why we can’t seem to ever get ahead.
Why the problems of life don’t seem to let up.
Why they keep coming and coming and don’t let up for a moment.
Why this happened or that happened.
Why I am this way or you are that way.
We tell ourselves stories.
We tell ourselves stories to make sense of what is happening in our lives.
Sometimes we’re unaware that we’re doing this because it’s habitual and often unconscious. But the stories we tell about ourselves and about others and about our circumstances and their circumstances impact us.
They effect us.
The stories we tell are powerful.
They have the power to effect our motivations and choices and outcomes in life.
They can make or break relationships.
They can make or break our careers.
They can make or break our sense of wholeness and how we function.
They can lead one person to love and one person to hate.
Stories have power.
But the stories we tell ourselves today don’t have to be the stories we tell tomorrow.
Our stories can change.
There are new stories.
New ways of crafting our lives.
If we stop long enough to reconsider the stories we are telling…
Long enough to listen and ponder and consider whether or not those are the stories we want to keep telling…
Perhaps long enough to consider the possibility that a new story of our lives can be written and told.
Long enough to pick up our proverbial pen or typewriter and begin to write them down.
Only then can our lives take on new meaning and purpose and life and hope and joy and love and peace and forgiveness and grace and vision and friendship and on and on and on…
It’s time to write new stories.