The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Stories Told Change Lives

As far back as there have been humans, there have been stories we've told ourselves and each other. They define who we are and the world around us. It has been said, time and again, that if a culture does not have a word for something, for that people whatever it is does not exist. Such is the power of the word.

The power of story is stronger. The stories we tell about ourselves are strongest of all. When it comes to how we perceive ourselves, there are no Dragnet style "Just the facts, ma'am." We weave the facts of our lives into a story. That story can be uplifting or can drag us down into endless, Stygian depths. If we tell a story of our lives in which there is a positive note, despite failures and defeats and agonies, then we will live the life we perceive. If we focus on our joys, how they define us, how every setback and strengthened us and given us wisdom, we will thrive (I do not suggest here that we will become what culture defines as success ... a billionaire with multiple homes, a yacht, etc. ... but we will become happy human beings, with positive outlooks, who can set fear aside in favor of joy, anxiety in favor of love. Tell the right story and we'll treat each other as we wish to be treated, we'll take the time and spend the talent to assist others in this life rather than avoiding them in suspicious terror. Tell the right stories and we won't seek out a strong man type who appears to have all the answers but is actually just telling us that awful, timeworn, tale of terror about how bad everything is without him at the helm, that twisted soul vying for power based on fear of people unlike himself. Don't fall for it.

Further, parents, the stories we tell our children about themselves and their families will set them on a healthy or harmful road. Those stories are vital to young impressionable minds. Tell good stories to and about your kids. Don't weigh them down from the start. Give them wings instead.

Finally, to tell ourselves positive stories, we have to short-circuit that horrible little voice in our heads that says we are no good, we are awful people, we are total screw-ups and will never amount to anything. Replace the little S.O.B. with someone far kinder who rejoices in our triumphs and is there to help pick us up when we fall.

Stories are powerful things. Let the narrative of your life be a positive one, for your own sake and for the sake of people you love.

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