What’s your story?

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What’s your story?

As any Game of Thrones fan will tell you, today’s stories (both fake and real) are powerful and shape attitudes. We root for, or vilify, our favorite characters. We vehemently discuss the ramifications of their decisions as if they were our own neighbors.

We binge on stories like Doritos at the end of a tough week.

But what about your story? Is it too simplistic to think of our lives as a story we tell ourselves?

And does that story make a difference in how you live your life? (Sorry, is that too many existential questions on a Monday?)

We all have a story. And we perform in our lives according to the story we tell ourselves.

Life is sometimes like an Encyclopedia Brown book. Do you remember this delightful series of children’s books?

Encyclopedia Brown was a super smart kid who operated his detective agency out of his parents’ garage and charged a whopping 25 cent fee for his super sleuthing services (this actually seems quite possible today).

After setting about his task of interviewing and gathering intelligence on a case, Encyclopedia Brown arrived at a critical decision point.

At the end of the story, you, the reader, were presented with Brown’s last clue and you, the reader, had to figure out the end of the story on your own. Seems fair. (You could easily flip to the back of the book for the answer, but I didn’t roll like that.)

The clues Encyclopedia Brown uncovered up to that point — and how you interpreted them — determined where you might take the story.

And if you’re little Lori in her little white reading chair by the west window and you’re not just flipping to the back of the book, you can discover a whole realm of new possibilities for the next part of the story.

If the only clues you leave for yourself in your story are negative, or maladaptive, thoughts and perceptions, then how will you advance your story in any meaningful way?

How do you expect that you will get to the end and go, “Ah-ha, yes, I knew it!”

I get it. Most of the time we want to focus on what’s not going right because it’s so tangible. You can feel the bad stuff pretty easily and with very little training.

Maybe those negative clues also remove some of our responsibility as the author of our story. My story stunk because I got bad clues, so yeah….

It’s true that you have no control over the series of events that enter your story. You don’t.

But you can decide 1) to decide something and 2) what decisions to make to keep the story going in a direction that benefits you. You always, always have that power.

If your story has some really painful and hurtful events, this is a lot harder to do, for sure. You have some back story work to do to get to a place where you can make healthy decisions.

But you still have the power to do those two things. Decide and keep going.

With the help of compassionate characters in your story, you can place those events into their rightful place in your narrative.

So, without looking at the back of the book, what will be your story?

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