by Galina Yanchova
We live in the stories we create. And the challenge, therefore, is to create stories that work for us, instead of against us, strength-based and growth-oriented, instead of victim-based, dis-empowering and shame-based.
The first stories we tell about ourselves referred to greater happiness, health, resilience and motivation to take positive action. But sometimes we experience tragedy or drama in our lives.
Three elements contribute to a strong sense of consistency:
- Comprehensibility. I understand what has happened (or is going on in my life). My important life stories make sense to me.
- Manageability. I can cope with what has happened (or is happening) in my life. It’s not easy, but I can summon the internal and external resources I need to manage my life.
- Meaningfulness. I have grown or learned (or have the potential to) as a result of my experiences. The challenges I face are worth addressing.
For underneath the surface drama of the story and the intentions and motives lies a bigger force which orchestrates events. This belief has the bigger picture and deeper meaning of otherwise meaningless and tragic events and this gives us a sense of purpose, helping us to manage our tribulation. We have a chance, to see the story and be empowered, rather than becoming a victim, and being consumed with hatred and bitterness.
The purpose of a story is much deeper than the mere telling of events. When we look at the painful stories of our past and see how we nevertheless managed, as well as how we were able to transmute suffering into growth, then the stories of our lives can take on new meanings. This awareness then gives us the strength and resilience to deal with the struggles and challenges of our present.
Our challenge is to stop telling stories that keep us stuck in blame. We can write our past in ways that are empowering, and so, we can use our past to inspire our present and future. When we can look back at the events of our past and embrace them for having trained us to be who we are today, then we can begin to be the authors of our own lives.