Everyone needs a story, as the saying goes. The best kind of story provides us with meaning and purpose, and it reflects values and beliefs to which we subscribe. Ideally, it tells us right from wrong, explains our suffering, and guides us going forward. Such stories, which go back in history to ancient creation myths, are cornerstones of our humanity.
Many of us, in order to flourish, need to change our story. Some stories that people adopt (or are unconsciously burdened with) do their existence and intelligence a great disservice. “I am a worthless nobody and a loser” is a story that many people follow. Some people believe, as another common story, that they are the helpless victims of what is (or what they subjectively perceive to be) injustice and malice. Such stories develop out of our inner conflict, and invariably they produce self-defeat and self-sabotage.
Keep in mind that terrorists and criminals, along with greedy and self-aggrandizing people, operate according to stories that feel real and true to them. Sometimes the stories most fervently subscribed to are rationalizations for being cold-hearted and close-minded. We obviously don’t want to be acting out a story that incorporates a lack of belief or trust in oneself, is borrowed from others, or has been contaminated by unresolved emotional issues.
We can have more than one story at a time, a personal story, for instance, as well as a story that frames our worldview. It’s normal that our story would borrow heavily from parents and culture, even as we’re struggling to forge a unique, personal story. [Read more…]