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I may have mentioned this previously, but it is especially salient for me at the moment. I see a certain narrative that I bring to relationships: if I support others’ needs, they will be available to support mine. A therapist said it’s like somebody else has a headache, but I take the medicine. The other person doesn’t get better, and I get frustrated because I cannot help.
Certainly, being mutually supportive is a major component of relationships. But I have been dealing with certain people in my life who have certain barriers of their own. I continue to put in work but do not give myself the grace to say, “That is their problem to solve.”
Instead, I experience resentment, an imagined conflict between what I expect of them and what they demonstrate. In many ways, I suspect I am losing out on a lot of love because I am only prepared to receive it in a certain way.
Hmmm-stories as in my lived experiences? Or stories as what I think in my head about who I think I should be???
If my lived experiences, then they do influence who I am and how I relate to the world.
If by stories you mean some narrative that plays in ones head about what I think I should be or strive to be, then I would say comparing your authentic self to a picture of some “perfect or desired self” is not fair! And it could limit ones experience and/or enjoyment of the self you are today!
Someone’s life stories may limit them. In my opinion that is when you need to reflect and learn from that limitation.. It is knowing which path to go down so that you do not fall in the same hole again and again..
Many of the stories “added” to Identity from different sources limit the range of free expression and flexibility of perspective when imprints cannot be processed as “being just in this moment” but stay, actively informing in the one or other direction. Only when allowing that all is possible, when being able to not polarize, to not prefer or be averse to what is presenting right now, limiting myself is reduced. Otherwise I guess that when I believe my stories, which in a way I did for a very long time, this belief was my prison. In letting go of the stories, which increases, some healthy fresh air, a sense of freedom and some rising creativity begins pervading my being. I am deeply grateful for this process and all support of you here and other friends dear to my heart.
My stories often revolve around my role as a business consultant. But I am really a creator of possibilities for the people I work with. And that allows me to contribute on a deeper, totally human, more satisfying level. But I need to remind myself of that – often – so that I don’t go into ‘pure business and goal-achieving mode’. (I’m working on that!) And I am really grateful when I remember to be of service!
Every experience I’ve ever had is a chapter in the book of me. I do not limit myself with them, rather, I grow from them and each chapter gets better. I used to lament on stories of my past, but I learned that was limiting. I don’t do that anymore. If an old story comes up where my ego tries to remind me of poor decisions I made or whatever, I pause, bring my mind into the present and count the many blessings I have while I remind myself how much I’ve grown and healed to be able to have this wonderful, perfectly imperfect life.
There are lots of stories and no doubt perspectives of this life. They are like the surface of a soap bubble – swirling around until one day it goes. But, if I look to the interior of the bubble, that is where the Truth lies. Transcendence requires going beyond the bubble surface.
The stories that make up my identity are the stories of my life. Why would I ever want to change them? If I did so, I’d be creating a work of fiction.
“A work of fiction” that is brilliant and made me chuckle-thank you:)
The variety of responses here helped me find a way into this question. I would reword the second question along the lines of “How are these stories defining me and do I want to continue to tell them?” That removes the assumption that they’re problematic in some way.
I come from a family of storytellers. Some of those stories reinforce good memories, others keep stereotypes and old assumptions alive. There’s a large age range among my siblings; oldest is 19 years older than youngest and we’re in two “litters”–4 older ones, 2 younger ones, and I’m in the second litter. It isn’t MY stories about myself that may create limits or boundaries; it’s older siblings who haven’t spent real time with me in years thinking they know me because they remember me as a child or they have clung to a particular anecdote without ever checking facts with me (and boy, do they cling to those).
I love the stories I know and tell about how I have grown and evolved over the years and how my path continues to be formed by the actions I take along the way. It’s not limiting at all. Those stories are the path behind me that brought me to who I am now and I like myself. So what if “I’m not really much of a thrillseeker” keeps me from going skydiving? I may try it when I’m 90 because if the chute doesn’t open it’s been a good long ride.
oh this is wonderful Barb – especially the last line. Thank you!
I come from a family of storytellers and singers/musicians, starting with my 4 grandparents. This is how we came to know our family history, beginning in Ireland and Canada, We know the line of musicians and artists, we know some of the struggles and survival stories. It has been a gift to have received this information and feel so connected. As the stories/history continue to surface, we realize just how unlimited are the journeys that have brought us to this day.
I don’t see my identity made up of stories, rather much more dependent on my values, my aspirations, even my difficulties – the experiences, the stories are much more like the lands through which I’ve traveled.
This is a big one for me. In the past, my stories were about my lack of ability, or my deficiencies in some way, and I tried to balance them with stories about my accomplishments or skills. There was a Constant back and forth. Push and pull. Some years ago, due to life circumstances, I lost the thing that I identified with. This led to a crisis and a reckoning.
I am now learning that this is all about the ego. This propping myself up. Comparing. This back and forth.
I am trying to let go of all that. Trying to be as I am. Right now. Standing firmly on the ground.
As the great philosopher Popeye said “I am, what I am”.
In yoga philosophy we call stories “samskaras.” Swami Jnaneshvara says we are “walking samskaras.” [Some of] My “towards samskaras” (toward the Realized Self) are discipline, assertiveness, and friendliness. Ironically, when I’m not centered, the same ones become “away samskaras”; like, rigidity, aggressiveness, and distractibility.
Thank you for sharing this insight, that something that serves us well at one time can become counterproductive at another if we aren’t paying attention.
When I first drank alcohol I was young and it was fun. I fit in, I felt that I was getting away with something. As I aged so did my addiction to alcohol. I drank for every occasion, celebrations, death, because it was cold, because it was hot, because my bones hurt from manual labor, ect, and for every emotion. I created the story that I was just a drunk then have another drink. I was not getting away with anything and also caused turmoil in the lives of the people who could see through the story. I have stopped many times but his time it feels different, better, deep down in my being. I am no longer limiting myself and numbing myself with that story. I am now telling myself a new narrative of gratefulness and thankful that I have been so very fortunate in my life. Once again I am no longer just a drunk. This site and all the reflections are one part of my continuing new narrative (story).
Joseph, Thank you for sharing your story…so honest and humble. It gives me courage to start a new page in my story. I never drank until I was in my late 40’s. It was a social thing- occasional glass of wine with dinner. Now…I find that as you said…I drink if it is a bad day, a good day, if the sun is shining or if it is raining…for no reason. It has become a daily habit. I have stopped before…but now- today has to be the end. I am better than that…I am grateful for waking up, being warm, having shelter. I am so priviledged and I need to LIVE my gratefullness…and start a wonderful new chapter in my life story. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I am grateful for you, today. I am also..like you thankful for this site and all who enter this space. Peace Be With You. Thank you
what a privilege to hear the intense story of someone who drank too much alcohol. You give a good and honest impression. You make me empathize with people who drink, and I’m grateful to you for that. I think you widen hearts with your story.💞
I want to dedicate to you my morning mantra of today, specially for the final words (it’s not mine, I take it from a page I follow on Instagram):
I am safe, I am love and I am peace. I am worthy of all the good that life has to offer. I know my worth and I am more than enough. I make choices that align with purpose. I am on my healthy journey. I am both a masterpiece and a work in progress.
What page is this, Eeevvv? (And is it in English or Italian?) That’s a beautiful statement.
Dear Barb, the page it’s called “thelovechange” and it’s in English, I follow it on Instagram.
Everyday it shares a morning mantra, that frequently for me it’s a lunch-time mantra because of the time zone.
That is a lovely reminder. Thank you for sharing.
I paid a great deal of attention to the stories I told myself about who I was or who I should be, until I read Kathleen Singh’s “The Grace in Aging.” She explains beautifully how we are not the stories we tell, that we are so much more than that. The stories may have helped our development when young, but, as today’s question implies, they hold us back in our later years. When we reach a “certain” age, it is time to examine those stories and release them so that we can move on to our higher purposes.
Laura, I relate. We are not the stories we tell. What a blessing to gain that awareness because many of those stories were life-limiting.
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