February 14, 2013

The Stories We Tell

I'm working through an interesting e-course called "The Story of You." I've long been interested in stories: telling my story (read: finding my voice); recognizing the different tapes that regularly play through my mind; noticing the stories (in all directions) that can cloud communication; listening to the lives of others. This week's pondering: does a particular way of telling my story (or living my life) move me closer to contentment? To freedom? To connection? I asked myself these questions just last night. Sitting in the hot tub, I ruminated on a particular situation. Indeed, I was telling myself a story (creating explanations and scenarios). When I asked the questions, I knew--I physically felt--movement away from freedom, connection, and contentment. What wonderful gatekeepers. So I recast the story in a different light that was more expansive. This small realization brought me to tears--tears of release. Another tool in my toolbox.

A different insight came from a list of mantras Jen and Ria proposed to the group. I read all the phrases and could accept them--could take them into my story. All but one: "She did not judge her flaws." I saw clearly the role of self-judgment in my life. Self-judgment provides me a perceived sense of control and perceived protection against hurt and sadness. (I purposefully use the word "perceived.") Judging my flaws has always been part of my story. In that way it feels comfortable, even though it's not truthful or helpful. Self-judgment does not move me closer to contentment, freedom, and connection. In fact, it cages me in a prison.  But it's a prison of my own making. I have a choice. Even now, as I write these words, I'm easing into a modified story line: "She did judge her flaws, but then she smiled and remembered she had a choice. So she chose to love herself just as she is."

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