We tell ourselves stories all the time. I’m stuck in this sucky job. I can’t function without coffee in the morning. He’s mean and untrustworthy. We tell ourselves as well as those around this story, and then we’re cornered into living it out. And the worst part? We don’t even realise we do it.
If you’ve known me for a while, you know that seafood and I do not get along. I loathed walking past the fresh seafood store. I winced at that hidden dried shrimp in my sticky rice. I couldn’t even be in the same room when anything fishy was being prepared. I just hated seafood. This was the story I told myself and everyone else.
But you know what? It’s just a story.
I was at dim sum in San Francisco. A dish had a bit of prawn in it, and now being aware that my dislike of seafood is just a story, I didn’t bring it up with the people I was with. Instead, I just ate it. And I didn’t gag like I had in the past. I didn’t want to spit it out straight away. Granted, I didn’t love it, but I was definitely fine to continue eating it.
When I didn’t have the story to fall back on, suddenly I was freed to not hate seafood. And that’s exactly what happened.
I had learnt this concept of stories before leaving for my big adventure, but how these stories played out? That didn’t really hit me until it was staring me in the face.
I had another revelation when I was in an incredibly packed crowd watching the fireworks at the beach. I didn’t hate it. It was just a story I told myself and I don’t have to hate it.
And late nights – I can do them if I need to and not be a zombie the next day. Well, less of a zombie. I just have to choose to not be a zombie and not live out the story of being one.
We all live in our stories. We have excuses for why they can’t or won’t do something, but it’s not reality.
The first step is to realise the stories we tell ourselves. To realise how it traps us, and to allow ourselves to do and be different from those constructs.
So what’s your story?