One of the frequent pieces of advice I come across about writing articles like this is to tell a story.
When you get right down to it, everything in life is a story or one kind or another.
Some stories are boring. Others are at least somewhat interesting. Still others are exciting and enticing.
Let’s face it — nobody wants to tell a boring story. Whenever I write fiction it’s my hope to interest the reader, give them a reason to turn the page, and to keep them engaged.
Life is exactly the same. Since I recently surmised that the immaterial things that we truly desire relate to making more and stronger connections, the stories we have over our life experience impact how connections are made.
Remember, this isn’t about connecting to each other, per se. Often these connections are intangibles. Ideas, notions, goals that make us feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
As we search for connections, we look at our stories that make up our lives and see how they make us feel.
Connection and Reconnection
Adjusting for dissonance and answering the big questions of life, the Universe, and Everything.
When your life story makes you feel like shit, there’s a good chance you’ll want to change it. This can be done in one of several ways.
· You can invent past happenings that never were
· Embellishments of things that happened or are happening can change the color
· You can tell lies and make up tall tales
· Or, most empowering, you can seek out new stories to be told
Let me expand upon each of these and explain why only one truly empowers you and brings satisfaction when all is said and done.
Inventing past happenings
There are so, so, so very many of these to look at. All you have to do is watch certain classical TV shows and movies to see an idealized family, society, and other matters in a way that never truly was.
While some people love to look at the kinder, gentler, more family-oriented society of the 1950s, they forget the unpleasant parts. If you weren’t white you were segregated and treated like a second-class citizen. Women had, apart from the vote, no real standing. Corporations paid actual taxes that helped create opportunities for more people — rather than current hoarding practices.
That’s the grand scale. You have a personal past that may not stretch back quite that far. I used to share the sentiment that “hindsight is 20/20.” Now, however, I see that this is often bullshit. Hindsight gets reinvented by people.
I am guilty of this. There are certain stories from my childhood that got invented to make me feel better. I can’t cite a specific example off the top of my head. But I know that one or two of my life stories from my youth were made up to spare me from my own feelings.
There is no point in revisiting this because they are not stories that have any impact on who I am now. I was a sensitive kid who was dealing with things far beyond my ability to understand them. But when you invent a story with knowledge of forethought — this can be dangerous.
Why? Because changing the past won’t fix your present or drive you to a worthwhile future.
Embellishing your story
This is the most common thing people do when they seek to change their life story. They add embellishments and flair to make it more interesting.
Take this, for example — I tripped and fell down the stairs but didn’t get hurt. That’s a straightforward story. And it’s utterly boring. Try this — As I tripped down the stairs, I curled up into a ball, rolled with it, and landed on my feet like I meant to do it — and just walked away. That’s much more interesting, wouldn’t you agree?
Sometimes, embellishing a story makes it more interesting to us. I wrote what I think is a rather humorous narrative of the life-changing accident I was in 21 years ago. The only embellishments I do with this story is how I narrated it. Frankly, much of my life experience doesn’t need to be enhanced to be told. But then, also, I’m a natural storyteller.
When you aren’t a natural storyteller, embellishing the story can make it more interesting. However, there is a fine line between embellishment, exaggeration, self-aggrandizing, and making shit up.
The other issue with embellishments is how they can change the framing of the story. I can laugh now at some of what happened years ago — at the time, it wasn’t funny.
The danger in this, however, is negating lessons to be learned from the past and present. Sometimes the boring story is utterly necessary as a part of life experience. That tends to be hard to accept in our high-speed, instant-gratification, quick-fix society. By being mindful of the story you tell and how embellished it is — or not — you can gain useful insights from life experience stories.
Telling lies and tall tales
I give you Exhibit A: Donald Trump.
In his world, he is the best President in the history of the United States. This election was stolen from him because there is NO WAY he isn’t beloved and the best and the winner. There was massive fraud — despite ZERO evidence or proof of such — but he just KNOWS IT. He knows is all — follow him to the promised land or wither and die like the liberal snowflakes want you to.
Anyone who is paying attention recognizes this is utter and total bullshit. The lies this man tells are dangerous, disastrous, and causing unnecessary pain and suffering — literally and figuratively. And yet, here we are, watching him unravel while his party continues to let him obfuscate the democratic process.
Okay, that’s a super-broad picture of telling lies and tall tales for one’s life story. Mr. Trump, I suspect, believes he will go down in history. I think he’s right — but not in the way he wants.
You can choose to invent your own life story — make it up, lie about it, exaggerate it beyond credulity, and tell yourself that’s what it really is. But rather than find peace and make connections — this will cause you tremendous suffering.
People who do this tend to do so because they rely on outside validation of themselves. Why else lie about what and who you are?
And that’s where this gets problematic. You know, deep down, what your story is and who you are. When you tell yourself lies and tall tales it makes you feel increasingly disconnected and uncomfortable in your skin. The lies you tell yourself will come back to haunt you — which, in the end, defeats telling them in the first place. Lies stifle growth, evolution, and true-life experiences.
Seek out new stories for your life
If you are reading this, you are living a life. At least, that’s my presumption.
So what? So, you can create new stories.
Every day of your life you can do something new and different. Or, you can do the same thing in a different way.
For example, driving to work. You can just commute. Or, maybe listen to an audiobook along the way. Maybe you put on lively music to get your blood flowing. If you have multiple ways to go to work, choose a different one today.
BORING! Perhaps — if that’s your expectation of it. It doesn’t have to be boring. You can alter it and make it something else.
No two days are the same. Alike, similar, but never the same. That means new stories can be created every day.
When you dislike the story of your life — you can tell a new one. It’s not about changing what was, because not only is that impossible — but it doesn’t have a measurable impact. Actively working on changing your current story — that is how you improve your life overall.
What does it take?
The most important thing to remember about your stories that you tell is that they are yours. And there is nobody else inside your head but you.
Thus, telling new stories is an inside job. And there is one way to do this.
Mindfulness is you. It’s your mindset/headspace/psyche, underlying psychology and make-up, as well as your beliefs and habits. On the surface, it’s your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions.
To practice mindfulness, you begin by being more aware and conscious, in this moment, of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. That awareness puts you in touch with the deeper depths of who you are and shows you if this is the story you desire for your life to be — or not.
All it takes is effort and practice to make use of mindfulness. This is how and why consciousness creates reality.
Life is made up of stories. If you don’t like the story yours is telling, you have the power and ability to change it. It comes from within you. Only by changing your present circumstances and stories can you make better stories to tell of your life experience in the future.
Truth or fiction, is your life story the one you want told?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
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