Friday, July 29, 2005


the stories we tell ourselves

i've found that often times even when life is going quite well and all signs point to us making smart decisions, living big and being loved by lots of great people - we continue to get hung up on 'our faults.'

we let these 'faults' get in our way of noticing how good things really are - they distract us terribly. and i'm a firm believer that most of these 'faults' aren't real. nope, they are just a hold over from the stories we've been telling about ourselves for far too long.

you know ever since you tripped walking to the bus in 2nd grade the story you've been telling is that you are a klutz, nevermind the fact that you are now a skilled salsa dancer. or maybe you always tell everyone you're shy usually just before you introduce them to each other at another great party you are hosting. my point is our stories about ourselves often haven't caught up with our current reality.

one of my age old stories is that i'm a horrible singer. my family used to tease me incessantly about my singing voice "you're going to break a window kirsten!" - needless to say i was fairly convinced it was bad. but a couple years ago i began to occassionally get up the courage to bring it out in public and sing a little, whenever i did people complimented me on it! talk about debunking the myth. these days, i love to sing, in public or not. the true story - i've got a great singing voice.

curt over at the occupational adventure had a great post on how our stories can get in the way of us moving forward, which suggests trying the following:
A critical step in coping with a hanging future is to become aware of our life story and the myths that have governed our life thus far, including an awareness of the unwitting assumptions and unconsciously determined habits involved.

It suggests the following approach:
Answer the old question, "Who am I?" Give 10 answers. And, "What would I like to be that I'm not?" Give 10 answers. And, "What would I not want to be?" Give 10 answers. These answers reflect many of the hoped for (hero) and the dreaded (villain) stories in your culture, your family and your life.

the full post goes on to suggest six other storytelling methods for moving beyond our old and outdated ideas about ourselves. swapping life stories with friends is a great way to start revealing some of the misinformed ideas we have about who we are. our friends know us, and often times they are more aware of the assumptions we make than we are.

so sit your friends down and share life stories, you'd be amazed what you don't know about your closest friends - or about yourself. plus a life story takes a while to tell, so it's the perfect excuse for a sleepover!

and then start telling new stories, the ones that are really true. as always, i'd love to hear them!

dream big, - kirsten

Another excellent post.
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