We Are All Made Of Stories

When I was a little girl I loved stories more than anything. I was an early reader and my family would often complain about my head being permanently buried in a book during the holidays. I’d spend hours in silence, lost in the stories I found on the pages, finding them much more exciting than my own life.

Coaching has reconnected me to stories but in a new light. I realise now that we all tell ourselves stories about who we are, about our past and our future, about what is possible and impossible and about how we and others should be.

Throughout our lives these stories change. As a twelve year old I dreamed of being a writer and I could see my future mapped out ahead of me. Only when my grandma told me that writers don’t earn enough money and I would have a hard life did I begin to change my own story.

We pick up stories from our culture and those around us and it’s difficult to see which serve us and which don’t. I work with my coaching clients to find their own individual stories.

I have to kill myself to be successful.
People will only like me if I say yes.
I am unworthy of a better relationship.
I am not [X] enough or too [Y] to have what I truly want.

These types of stories shape our thinking and therefore they shape our reality. They are so interwoven they’re usually invisible until we begin to question them. They are our boundaries, our limitations, the lifeboats that we cling to when we feel change around us. But as awareness shifts and we begin to see them they can mutate, like bones being broken and reshaped into new forms, and in realising their transience we start to rebuild them.

I deserve to be successful and happy.
People will like me more if I learn to value myself.
I am worthy of a relationship that allows me to accept myself.
I am always enough and get what I dare to seek.

Stories are told on both an individual and a collective level.

Power and money are what we must aspire to.
The circumstances in the world are getting worse.
Life is happening to us.

Creativity and expression have always been the place where our stories come to light and mutate. Our culture is now beginning to question these collective stories and create space for new ones. What will we choose to believe next? What can help us shape a better reality?

Happiness and love are what we should aspire to.
In the future everything will be better.
Life responds to us.

These stories can empower or destroy us. They can chase us through generations or fall at our feet. They can take us beyond where we dreamed going before or they can keep us locked rigidly in place. They can be our fact or our fiction, to be cried or laughed at and may push us into our shadows or our light.

Only when we find our stories do we have the power to change them. That’s why I still love stories more than anything, as they can help us be who we previously believed impossible.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
 Your thoughts become your words, 
 Your words become your actions, 
 Your actions become your habits, 
 Your habits become your values, 
 Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

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