The story of our lives often seems like it’s entirely out of our control. Circumstances and external factors push us around and we bounce along, wishing we were able to do what we want. But you’ve been involved too. You’ve made some decisions. You’ve taken some action. And while you can’t completely control the course of your life, you are probably the single biggest factor in how it goes.
But there’s another story that’s going on here, and it’s one that you are entirely in charge of. This is the story that you tell yourself about your life. It’s the story running behind it all, the one going through your head as you go through your life. It’s the one that reminds you that you’re shy, or that you’re not the kind of person that could be brave, or that you’ll always be a loser, or any number of other narratives that ‘help’ you to make sense of who you are and why this is all happening to you. And this story is the one I’m hoping to help you change. Replacing those inhibiting stories with empowering ones.
It actually seems like we have less control over this latter story – because it controls us in a way. The voice that reminds you of this story has all the evidence of history, and it is easy to believe it. But it also is entirely contained in your own mind, which means that you don’t have the same kind of external circumstances to consider. (Side note: of course, you do have physiology and brain chemistry going on, and you can’t control all of this either. But it’s not quite the same sort of external factors as planning to be a world-class darts player and then having your hands crushed in a freak rodeo accident.)
If you want to confuse yourself, consider this: you’re trying to convince your mind, which is being told how to think by this other story, but in order to stop the story you have to use your mind to convince your mind not to believe… your mind.
If you can only find a way to convince your mind to think differently, to stop reminding you of what you’ve done so far and be open to the idea that you can still choose any path, you could change almost any part of your life. What if, instead of believing that you have always made bad choices and therefore always will, you are just as capable of making good choices? Do you think that might actually change the kinds of choices that you could try to make? Do you see how it could open up all sorts of possibilities that you wouldn’t originally believe you could try?
Changing the story you tell yourself has the potential to fundamentally change every choice you make, as well as how you feel about yourself and the things that are happening around you. There’s a lot of ways to do it, and they all take some time. Start by changing what you focus on, how you talk to yourself and what you read – too big to talk about here, but I’ve posted about them before. And remember that you have more control over your story than you might think at first.