There’s life (the people and events that shape our experience) and then there’s the story we tell about that life. Our stories define us even more than the facts. Over the years I have discovered that how we remember and retell our stories positively impacts our relationships and self, even having the potential to alter our course in the future.
For example, if we work to find something positive in a negative experience we can actually reshape the experience. I have seen this a countless number of times – women who have experienced great pain and trauma, using those very experiences as a launching pad to help others. Me Ra Koh, Christine Caine, Angie Smith, and Oprah are a few well-known examples. Instead of remembering and retelling their stories as victims, each made the choice to find something positive in the experience, empowering themselves and others. Their experiences might have crushed them had they continued living as victims, blaming others for their misery while carrying the oppressive weight of fear and anger.
Finding something positive in unhappy circumstances, doesn’t mean living in denial or hiding pain. It means acknowledging the fact that this horrible thing did happen and working through it by trying to view it from another perspective. [Click HERE for an example from my own life.]
What have you been telling yourself about the story you are living? Changing the way you think about and process your experiences requires practice. Here are a few tips for rewriting your own stories:
1. Take some time to think about a past or present-moment difficulty. Review the facts.
2. Identify and express gratitude for at least one thing related to the experience.
3. If you tell the story without blaming someone for your role, would there still be a story to tell?
4. Rewrite your story from a different perspective, one that empowers you. Try to see things from a glass half-full perspective: How have you grown from the experience? What have you gained from it? How might your story help someone else?
If you are interested living more intentionally, be sure to do the homework above and visit my blog next Wednesday! [If you’re looking to go even further, check out Intentional Gatherings.]