People have told me over the years that I’m a good storyteller. I’m flattered, but sometimes I chuckle to myself – because actually we are all good storytellers. We tell stories all the time and often we aren’t even aware of it. We tell ourselves stories about who we are – or are not. “I’m bad at math” or “I’m clumsy." We also tell stories about other people, often things we don’t know for sure. We read into what they have said, perhaps offhandedly, or even a look they gave us.
But do you ever notice that most of the stories we tell about ourselves or others are usually negative? It is as if we are so afraid of being hurt, that we’d rather hurt ourselves or others first.
And here’s the thing: The vast majority of stories we tell ourselves about others or ourselves are false. I once had a story that I couldn’t draw, that I wasn’t artistic at all. I decided one day to see if that story was true. Turns out I was completely wrong! Another time, a friend didn’t reply when I told her something difficult over the phone. I immediately made up the story that she was judging me. When I called her on it, she said, “What? Oh, I’m sorry, I was distracted as I just saw a car accident.”
So, what stories do you tell yourself? What story do you tell about others? And then ask yourself: Are they true? Really look at them and see if perhaps it wasn’t something you actually made up. And see if you can’t give yourself a new, positive story about being open to growing.