Let me explain, We live our lives through stories we tell ourselves and we actually believe those stories. The stories start from a young age and some of the stories, actually most of the stories are stories that others tell us about ourselves. Often times the stories told, at least in my life were hurtful and hard. We don't want to believe them, but when those stories are told again and again we start to believe them and live them. Some of the stories are good and some of the stories are bad.
Funny thing is we want to believe the bad stories and I guess for me the reason is that the bad stories were repeated most often. I didn't want to believe them, but took them in and believed that if so many believed the story and told me the story, I must be wrong and they must be right.
The stories that have the most impact on us are one's told when we are young. Our minds absorb them and we believe them and those stories are the hardest to get away from. I have learned how important it is that we tell our children and everyone around us good stories about themselves. Stories like you are good, your wonderful, your talented, your fun, etc. I love the book the Help, the part where the maid tells the little girl, "You is good, You is Special". How often do many of us go through life and especially childhood and never hear those words. It can have a dramatic effect on us and our entire lives, the stories we are told when young. Good or bad stories effect us deeply.
The stories I remember from my youth that were told time and time again was that I had no value. I was never good enough, I was a sissy and many many other hurtful and hard things. I was thinking recently that for the first 18 years of my life I could not remember ever really feeling wanted or loved. I believed the stories that were told and I retold them to myself for years. It is amazing how we can come to believe such stories and it is also so amazing how our belief in those stories effect every part of our lives.
So, back to the story. I went on a weekend retreat of sorts. Part of the retreat was designed to help us see the stories we tell ourselves and come to terms about them. For example some of the questions asked were:
Is the story or belief true?
How do you react when you think about the story or belief?
Is this your own story or one from someone else you adopted?
Is there a benefit to holding on to this story?
Can you turn it around?
It was an amazing experience to take a good look at the stories I have told myself for years and years and discover that the story had changed, and mostly it was never true to begin with. As the retreat continued, I was able to change the story and in the process my heart softened and my life has been changed. I left with an overwhelming realization of how harmful we can be to ourselves as we allow those stories to be believed. I left the retreat with an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy as I was able to leave some of the most painful stories behind and start to believe in good stories.
Now when I struggle, I ask myself those questions and work out the story in my mind and usually I am able to turn it around and take a better look at who I really am and not believe the stories I have told myself and the stories others have told me in the past and present.
The real story about me and everyone is that we are sons and daughters of God with unlimited potential for good. The real story is that we are harder on ourselves then we should be and we spend to much time focusing on the weaknesses, that in truth are only a small part of the picture, and not enough time focusing on all the good within, that in truth is the big part of the picture. Can you imagine the power we could have when we come to the understanding that we are children of God and when we truly understand that with that comes the ability to overcome great challenges and become great in the process.
I came away from my life changing experience with the firm affirmation that despite is all, "I am a Good Man". We are all good men and women with unlimited potential for doing good. Despite the stories told, this is the real story about each and every one, WE ARE GOOD. I hope that you can dismiss the harmful stories you tell yourself and replace them with strong affirmations of goodness and joy. And most of all I hope we all come to understand how important it is that the stories we tell others about them only lift and encourage and leave them feeling good about who they are. After all, a good story or a bad story can effect anothers life for years. I choose to tell good stories.