The Power of Stories

martin_feaver_for_coaches_oldlife_newlifeThank you to all who have been along to this month’s group sessions on the Power of Stories. I continue to be amazed and inspired by your sharing, experiences and trust.

The focus of the evenings was to plant the seed of awareness about story telling in our lives, explore how stories can be used to help or hinder us in living our lives the way we want to and possible ways we can use stories to overcome the barriers we can put in our own way.

We live through stories. We actually love them. Films, TV, plays, musicals, novels, telling friends about our latest holiday, recounting our day to a loved one over dinner…we do it continually. We tell our stories to others and ourselves and, just like we all have a favourite movie or TV series that we watch repeatedly, we also have our favourite stories that we repeat and keep us stuck – we usually miss out the ‘once upon a time’ though!

Our favourite stories become our default stories and usually surface when we feel uncertain, threatened or cannot see an alternative way other than our previous experiences of a similar situation. They are our limiting stories. There is a difference between your experiences and your stories.

Experiences are events you recount and see simply as part of your pathway through life. Stories are when you define yourself by them and attach significance to an experience from the past, decide it is a ‘truth’ and use it as a template for all present and future similar experiences. You end up projecting your doubts and fears, or your excitement and joy, onto a similar experience now. You explain what is happening today by using the past and your conditioning. For example, let’s imagine you had a boyfriend five years ago that cheated on you and now you have a new boyfriend you believe he will do the same. Or you went to Sitges on holiday last year, had a brilliant time, met lots of new friends and, as you head off this year, you imagine it will be the same and are sorely disappointed when you end up spending the week on your own.

We can be come so attached to our own stories that when our stories are challenged we become defensive and start using ‘reality’ as the reason things have to be the way they are and cannot change. Our reality though is how we are choosing to see the world. It’s the evidence we are gathering from past experiences, social conditioning and those around us. Reality is the story we are choosing to write and that reality can mean we carry our stories as ‘baggage’ despite the reality and circumstances having changed.

Our stories are self fulfilling because that is what we are looking for – our version of life. Our attachment to our stories also closes us to being present to unexpected outcomes. We can become so stuck and concerned with our story we forget to leave them open ended. If you head off on a date and have already decided how things are going to go there is no room for anything different or an unexpected twist in your story!! We close ourselves down to possibilities and restrict our real potential. We can even end up blaming others.

Your story is about you. If you want to have trust, faith, your own power and realise your full potential, you must be the author of a story that involves only you. The difficulty is it is easy to drift into including others into your story and expecting them to perform as you want them to in your story when they are writing their own! That is a sure fire recipe for disappointment, doubt, fear and worry. Sometimes stories are written for the benefit of others and that leads to resentment and anger. You cannot control the actions of anything or anyone beyond you – no matter how much you want to! Control what you can control and let go of what you cannot.

Ultimately, you are the author of your own stories – your past present and future stories – and that can be scary. Once you are aware of this you can start to make changes. Like anything new, it can feel both exciting and fearful yet it does become easier when you decide its up to you how you manage and deal with what life throws into your story and aiming to control everything is futile. Your story can empower or disempower you; open you to new possibilities or limit you. Maybe after the evenings its time to write some new stories?

Enjoy the day you create.

Martin

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