Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how the stories we tell about ourselves shape who we are, shape our experience. As I listen to people talk, I often can hear “their story”, the same theme over and over again.
“I was left out”.
“It wasn’t fair!”
“Someone took advantage of my kindness”.
“It didn’t live up to my expectations”.
There are as many stories as there are people, of course.
If I can hear others’ stories, I know I must have my own too. I sit and listen to the stories that run through my own mind so I can find where I am stuck, where I need to let go or open up.
I found a couple of lovely quotes in my reading lately that relate to these ideas:
It’s a hard thing, sometimes, to accept that other people feel as strongly about their stories as we feel about ours. A hard thing, but also an essential one. Every so often, it helps to remind myself that a world with only one story might be peaceful. But it’d also be pretty damn boring. (From Ben Hewitt’s blog post Pretty Damn Boring)
What makes us miserable, what causes us to be in conflict with one another, is our insistence on our particular view of things: our view of what we deserve or want, our view of right and wrong, our view of self, our view of other, our view of life, our view of death. But views are just views. They are not ultimate truth. There is no way to eliminate views, nor would we want to. As long as we are alive and aware there will be views. Views are colorful and interesting and life-enhancing—as long as we know they are views. (From Norman Fischer, on tricycle)
And of course, Byron Katie is an author to check out if you want to read and think more about stories.