There are times when I listen to friends or clients and the entire story they are relating is about someone else.  It’s a narrative of “them” and “they” and what they did and what they should or shouldn’t feel or think or be or react…  I listen to this, at least for a while, waiting for there to be something that connects the narrative to the narrator.  Something that points to their learning, their growth, their need for action, their choices, their confusion, their exploration of hurt or boundaries, their decision to change, to confront…something.  I wait for it, but rarely with the hope that it will come, because people who are narrating other people’s stories usually aren’t aware of their own.  In fact they are working hard to be unaware, uninvolved, and not responsible for them.

The thing about living other people’s narratives, whether that be children, spouses, significant others, friends, or parents, is it allows us to feel as if we’re doing something constructive.  We are carrying a burden, being involved in the moment, feeling passionately (positively or negatively), and speaking what feels like our truth about the situation.  It feels as if we’re living our lives and working through something to come out the other side better.  However, the story never ends, things don’t get better, the person narrating the story never makes any progress, and in the meantime what is lost is their own story.

While there is truth in any story, the person living it is the only one that knows and experiences the truth of it.  We can lose sight of this in relating or even living in their narrative.  Our perspective of it is not theirs because it isn’t our story.  Also, our story is just as relevant as theirs and only we have the truth of it and only we have the ability to speak that truth.  Which, unfortunately, is what we’re avoiding by telling our version of someone elses life.

We are responsible for telling our own story.  While we can know another’s story, having lived alongside them through it for a portion of the journey, their story is not ours nor is ours theirs.  What truths are waiting within you to be told?