27 Jun The Power of Our Stories
I recently stumbled across this powerful quote by Orson Welles:
“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
So many examples of this came to my mind. That same weekend I’d been to the theater and saw Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” At the end of the first act it’s all Fairy Tale Happy Endings, but in the second act we learn that Cinderella’s prince is pining over Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel’s suffering from post-partum depression after having twins and her prince has his eye on this beautiful girl in a glass coffin guarded by dwarves. So, you see, once again it depends on where you stop your story.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t skip to the back of the book to see how it all turns out. (Ok, maybe once or twice. Maybe.) Not because I’m not curious, but because I’m all about how the story unfolds and fear that knowing the ending will spoil my enjoyment.
One of the questions I regularly ask therapy clients is “What is the story you are telling yourself about [whatever happened that triggered them.]”
Being aware of how we are perceiving a situation (for example: someone’s intention in a text, email or glance), helps us understand that our perception may not be entirely accurate.
And when we’re feeling stuck? Let’s remember – that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
With phenomenal synchronicity, I had started this blog & discovered an article (link below) from Mindfulness magazine – “How to Stop Your Stories From Running Your Life.” It’s so very good, I’m sharing it with you, because it’s everything I would’ve written or said, but better.
Here are the key strategies from the article – for those of you who wish to skip to the end of the story.
Identify some of your stories or beliefs, such as “I stink at math” or “I’m just no good at time management” or “No matter how much I do, people don’t appreciate it.”
Look at the beliefs you’ve listed about yourself (or others) and ask the following questions in the spirit of gentle inquiry. You may wish to write down the answers in a journal.
Where did this story come from?
Is this my story or someone else’s?
Is this story true of me now?
Is this story contributing to or undermining my happiness?
Do I choose to continue to live this story or is it time to write a new one?
Here’s hoping that if you’re not satisfied with your story – you’re ready to choose to change it. Let me know if I can support you in re-writing it.
Article link – https://www.mindful.org/stop-stories-running-life/