Part of my work is to listen to people’s stories. They think they are telling me the details of their lives, sorting through what is important and what is not, but what they are actually doing is telling me their stories.  Because if they were to tell me the facts it would be so dry I’d need an IV to keep hydrated.  Most people don’t relate things that way and those that do are noteworthy.  We laugh about them while we cringe at having to be social with them.  So we each tell stories and we are the hero (tragic or otherwise) of our stories.  That’s human nature.  A writer recently discussed how they write interesting villains by remembering that the villains don’t seem themselves as being the villain, but instead are the hero of their own story.  Nothing is black and white even when wearing the traditional black hat and thick mustache, which is why life is so rich and interesting.

What I find intriguing is how often people suffer from reversing the meaning or the message or the emphasis that events and facts have in their stories.  A series of texts comes out in the wrong order and a relationship explodes into drama. A lost job is an indictment of a person’s worth, the ending of a marriage is a failure, slow progress is no progress and the torment will never cease.  On the other hand, if the person is good at something that means that they should do it even though it makes them miserable and they would rather chew ground glass.  Or they are good at many things and this means that they have to choose and how perverse is the Universe to make us choose between too many options.  Or they have moved so often they will never find a forever home. The stories are endlessly unspooling in a tale of woe and lack and loss and failure.

Why I find this intriguing is that all the suffering is self-made.  Each of these storytellers has taken the facts and woven a tale of judgement and woe which is completely arbitrary and unnecessary. With a quick flick of the wrist these stories can become tales of success and validation.  A lost job can be an invitation to release from a career you hate or a limiting role and a means to achieve something much better. Because you aren’t your job, you’re you. The end of a marriage that was never able to succeed can be the greatest act of love, self and otherwise, that was ever given. Slow progress can mean the progress is permanent this time, going deep and providing more than just a return to a normal life. Being good at one thing means you can reconfigure all the bits and be good at a great many things and become great at a good deal more. Take the win and keep moving. If the universe is providing a ton of options, why do you have to choose just one? Who says you do? Why can’t you do all of them – perhaps not all at once, there could be safety issues…Moving a lot?  Good.  Not everyone needs a forever home.  Some people need the freedom and the movement and the opportunities available in action.  Literally millions of people dream of being able to lead that type of life.  Enjoy.

Some of the more difficult things we deal with in life are created due to the stories we tell about and to ourselves.  We suffer from a reversal of fortune.  We take the fortunes we create and experience and find everyday and turn them into ashes with a shake of our head and a deep sigh.  But what if we didn’t?